Just want the recipe? Scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe for Cider-Braised Pork Roast.
The time has finally come.
Every day this year has been leading up to this very point.
And here we are. Stormy clouds begin to brood over houses, leaves divorce from their trees, and the temperatures change swiftly.
In such tumultuous times, there is only one thing we know for certain:
And not just lattes. No.. pumpkin spice has reserved itself a seat so deeply entrenched in the American consumer market that it practically has its own food group on the USDA food pyramid.
I’m not here to bash on pumpkin spice. I am guilty of indulging in many pumpkin-flavored treats (I’m looking at you, Starbucks’ pumpkin bread!). But at what point, we must ask, have we gone too far? I mean…
We don’t have pumpkin spice flu shots yet, but it’s only time. For those of you who see this PSL atrocity, I propose that we begin to include another autumn culinary celebration: cider.
Since I’m a true Washingtonian, I feel that it is my obligation to vouch for this godly nectar made from one of our primary exports, apples.
Cider is pretty underrated.
And I don’t mean that just because my underdeveloped palate can only handle the saccharine sweetness of a hard cider over a beer, but because apples really do go with everything.
Especially with pork.
Bet you don’t know any pumpkin-pork recipes.
Cider for the win.
In this dish, pork roast is slowly cooked until it falls apart with a fork.
The cider adds a brightness to the dish, and the sugars from the cider let it get all caramelized and yummy.
There are 3 major players working in this dish:
Or just carrots, if you don’t have access to rainbow carrots. Although I do like the colors that rainbow carrots adds.
Sometimes, pot roasts can appear very monochromatic, and no matter how well you plate it, it just looks like it’s still missing something.
Which is what makes the rainbow carrots such a great addition to the dish- it’ll taste good and look good.
To begin, pat the roast dry with paper towels, and season liberally with salt and cracked black peppa’.
In a heated Dutch oven, brown on all sides until it forms a lovely crust, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Next, throw in the chopped carrots (but reserve the rainbow ones for the end!) onions, and celery into the Dutch oven and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until they get golden and translucent.
Add the minced garlic.
Saute the garlic for 1 minute. Any longer and you risk releasing bitter compounds from the garlic.
Personally this has never happened to me, but I’ve definitely heard that overcooked garlic can completely ruin the flavor of a dish. Fun fact: sometimes just chopping or cooking garlic can make it turn blue! Crazy.
Next, add the cider, broth, and roast back to the plate and bring to a boil. Then, pop it in the oven with a lid on and let it roast for 3-4 hours, or until a fork easily slides in.
To get a roast that is juicy and melts in your mouth, it’s useful to understand a little bit about roasts. With roasting meat, you’re working with two variables: muscle fibers, and the collagen, which keeps together the tough and chewy connective tissue. You want to break down this leather-like connective tissue by heating the collagen enough to liquefy it into gelatin.
However, heat causes muscle fibers to contract and expel their liquid, with results in a sad and dry roast.
And we don’t want a sad and dry roast.
To solve this heat-time dilemma, the addition of liquid (from the cider and the broth) and cooking the meat slowly allows for both a juicy and tender result. So when in doubt, a little bit longer in the oven typically only does good for roasts.
Now that your roast is fully cooked, remove it to a plate. It’s time to focus on the heavenly sauce. On medium-high, reduce the sauce until there are about 2-3 cups’ worth left.
Add the roast back to the pot, and artfully arrange the reserved rainbow carrots around the roast. If you’re planning on adding baby golden potatoes, then add those, too. Roast at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender and caramelized.
Spooning the sauce every-so often during this process adds an amazing flavor to the vegetables. If you’re brave, a small amount of time under the broiler at the end helps speed up the browning.
Once they are fully cooked, remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the herbs and garnish with parsley. I prefer to serve this meal with mashed potatoes, but I’ve had it with cheap ol’ polenta with great results as well. Noodles are also a viable option, but just make sure that you have enough sauce.
Give yourself a pat on the back, you damn Martha Stewart you.
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Image sources: image sources: http://www.delish.com/food-news/g3649/gross-pumpkin-spice-products/
Recipe adapted from: