Slow Cooker Too!
Pork and Apples... A perfect pairing! Combine in your Instant Pot or slow cooker with stone ground mustard and sage for a flavorful and tender main dish, Instant Pot Pork and Apples with Sage and Ground Mustard is healthy and delicious, with minimal effort... The recipe card provides slow cooker instructions as well!
I just feel compelled to talk about food. Thus, I write a food blog. I simply must talk about pork and apples simmered slowly with fresh sage, stone-ground mustard, apple cider vinegar, and stock.
Pork and apples must be one of those "perfect pairings" like chocolate and red wine, beef and mushrooms, figs and bleu cheese, fish and citrus... Do you have a perfect pairing?
You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.
~~Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird
I recently purchased a 4 quart slow cooker, having found my 8 quart slow cooker way over-sized for two. I broke in my new tiny slow cooker with my Slow Cooker Pork and Apples, and it was falling-apart-tender-and-delicious! Blame my love of literature for my occasionally cryptic quotes, and the quite pithy epigram above. If you love good food, pull that slow cooker down off the top shelf of your pantry closet, and put it to work.
Fast Forward to 2019 and Instant Pot Pork and Apples
While I do still pull out my slow cooker, I find myself using my Instant Pot for the same reason: Set it and Forget it! I'm updating this good-any-time but especially good for fall recipe to include instructions for both...
I buy most of my proteins at the local Sam's Club, including pork loin. Their meats are fresh, of good quality, and well-priced. My husband cuts the loin into about 4 pieces, - about 1 1/2 pounds each - and we vacuum seal them, and place in the freezer until needed.
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) provides generous servings for 4, or adequate servings for 6. I will leave that decision up to you. At Andersen casa, we allow 4-6 ounces of protein per serving, depending on where we're at with our macro nutrients for the day.
Making Pork and Apples with Sage and Mustard
Pork and Apples Ingredients
On this particular night, I served the Slow Cooker Pork and Apples with wild and brown rice pilaf and a spinach and bleu cheese salad, but its great with roasted potatoes, barley, bulgur, etc. You just need a delicious side dish to soak up the sauce, and a healthy green vegetable or salad to complete the meal. We love this with a dark ale...
Tips and Tricks
Start by browning large pork chunks. If using a slow cooker, brown in a skillet before adding. If using an Instant Pot use the sauté setting.
Stir in the aromatics (garlic and onion) and apples. This applies to both the slow cooker and the Instant Pot.
After whisking together the broth/stock, vinegar, and stone ground mustard, pour it over top. Generously season with fresh ground pepper, salt, and herbs.
If using a slow cooker, cover, and set to "low" for 8 hours, or "high" for 4 to 6. If using an Instant Pot, lock the lid, and set to 40 minutes. You can de-pressurize immediately (be careful!), but the pork may need some "help" to fall apart. I find a potato masher quite useful!
What is your favorite fall slow cooker or Instant Pot dish? This transition time always has me pulling down my "crockpot." You?
We usually serve pork and apples with a brown and wild rice blend. It is awesome with barley, freekeh, even mashed potatoes (if you're not counting carbs and calories).
Our "go to" adult beverage with this German-inspired dish is a dark, malty beer. Spaten Optimator is a favorite!
Looking for more transitional summer to fall recipes? Try one (or more) of these:
- Pork and Hatch Chile (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- Tapado Recipe (Instant Pot or Stove Pot)
- Mexican Shrimp Boil
- 1 1/2 lbs. lean pork loin
- olive oil
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed (half inch dice or so)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. good apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
- 1 cup broth/stock
- 2 tsp dried sage or 1 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped (see notes)
- 2 bay leaves, (see notes)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. flour
- Add the pork chunks and a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan. Bring a saute pan to high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. If you add a sizzling hot food to a cold slow cooker, you risk crack it. I've had this experience! When pork is cooler, add to slow cooker.
- Add cubed apples, chopped onion, and garlic to the slow cooker.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard, broth/stock, garlic, sage (and thyme if using), several grinds of pepper and sea salt. Whisk thoroughly. Pour over the pork and apples. Drop bay leaves into the liquid.
- Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-6 hours.
- Just prior to serving, remove pork from the slow cooker. Don't worry if it's falling apart and you leave some behind.
- Brown flour in olive oil in a small saute pan. You'll need enough olive oil to make a paste, but if watching fat and calories, don't use more than you need to. Using a ladle, add liquid from the slow cooker to the flour mixture a little at a time until you have a thick gravy. Scoop the gravy into the slow cooker, and stir gently to combine and thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Add the pork back into the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Set dial to "warm" until ready to serve.***
- Add the pork chunks and a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan. Bring a saute pan to high heat. Sear the pork on all sides.
Add cubed apples, chopped onion, and garlic to the slow cooker.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard, broth/stock, garlic, sage (and thyme if using), several grinds of pepper and sea salt. Whisk thoroughly. Pour over the pork and apples. Drop bay leaves into the liquid.
Set Instant Pot to 40 minutes at high pressure. When finished, release pressure (be careful!).
Brown flour in olive oil in a small saute pan. You'll need enough olive oil to make a paste, but if watching fat and calories, don't use more than you need to. Using a ladle, add liquid from the Instant Pot to the flour mixture a little at a time until you have a thick gravy. Scoop the gravy back into the Instant Pot, and stir gently to combine and thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve over your choice of brown or wild rice (or a mix), barley, freekeh, or mashed potatoes. Garnish with fresh herbs as desired!
I love fresh herbs, and use them whenever possible - either from my garden or the market. If you are using dried, you will want to use about 25% of the amount used fresh.
I always include sage, but will include fresh thyme leaves if I have them. Marjoram is another nice option. Garnish with fresh sage, thyme, and/or chives as desired.
Seasoning is subjective. My husband watches sodium intake, so I typically go easy on salt. Always taste for seasoning prior to serving.
A potato masher is super useful in breaking up the pork. I find the slow cooker results in pork that is already falling apart, but the Instant Pot may need some help.
As I mentioned in the post, I have served this with many different sides including barley pilaf, brown rice, and roasted potatoes. Start your side dishes, and make your sauce (last step) just before they're finished.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 244 calories; 24 g protein; 8 g carbohydrates; 11 g fat. Macros do not include a side dish.
We strictly follow 4-6 ounces of meat/poultry/fish per person, so this serves 6 at our house. The calories are based on 6 servings.
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Serving Size:6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 24g
Nutrition information is an approximation only, and will vary according to your ingredients.