This is a perfect autumnal dinner. Cider, caramelized onions and apples combine with pork for a rich, sweet and comforting one pot meal. Calvados brandy and Dijon mustard add extra depth and sharpness with a nod to the French countryside in this hearty dish. I like to serve this with Celery Root and Parsnip Purée. —TasteFood
Test Kitchen Notes
"What this pork dish lacks in beauty it makes up for generously in flavor. You braise succulent pork shoulder in a thick stew of onions, apples, cider and Calvados. All it takes is a little browning of the meat and softening of the vegetables and then you can slide it into the oven, where over an hour or two, the onions mellow and the apple flavors brighten. Out of the oven, you add a dose of mustard for punch, then tell everyone to hurry to table–you won’t want to wait." –A&M
"If there were an ideal fall meal, it would include the following: apples, cider, caramelized onions, a one-pot meal. Well, look at that! It looks like we just described Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Caramelized Onions and Apple Confit.
'What this pork dish lacks in beauty it makes up for generously in flavor,' Amanda and Merrill write in the recipe's headnote. This flavor takes very little work, too: Succulent pork shoulder is browned on the stovetop, then slid it into the oven where, over a couple of hours, it becomes tender and the vegetables soften, transforming into a sweet, rich stew imbued with onions, apples, cider, and Calvados. A hit of acid, in the form of mustard, is added to the apple confit right after it comes out of the oven—and right before everyone rushes to the table. A meal that screams 'fall!', are we right?" –Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
2 1/2 pounds
pork shoulder (butt), boneless and tied
salt and freshly ground black pepper
large yellow onions, halved, thinly sliced
large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
garlic cloves, chopped
dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Heat oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven with a lid. Brown pork on all sides, turning with tongs, 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate.
Pour off excess fat from pot. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft ad deep golden brown, 18-20 minutes.
Add Calvados and stir to deglaze pan. Add apple, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Return pork to pot, nestling it down in the onions. Add cider and chicken stock. Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce heat to 325 F. Braise until meat is very tender, 2 1/2-3 hours.
Return pot to cooktop. Transfer pork to a cutting board and remove kitchen strings. Boil onion and apples until thickened and liquid slightly reduced, 1-2 minutes. Stir in mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut pork in serving pieces and arrange on serving platter or individual dinner plates. Spoon onion apple confit over and around the meat.