I have always been a fan of sweet and savory; salted dark chocolate, crusty bread with jam and some sort of soft cheese, and pork chops smothered in homemade apple sauce (another frequent in my mother's cooking repitoiur). I don't know what it is, but there's something about it that almost makes my taste buds feel more satisfied after eating a meal, having the balance of the salty savory flavors and warm, rich sweet ones.
A few weeks back, I stumbled upon a recipe that paired tart apples with savoury pork and crisp apple cider and I was sold. What was even better about the recipe was that I had every single ingredient I needed except for the cider. As easy as acquiring the ingredients, cooking this recipe is a breeze. A little bit of cooking and a touch of baking, the result is a sweet and savoury pie, bursting with warm, seasonal flavour.
A note on the crust: Whenever I bake a pie, I've taken to making a basic lard crust with flour, salt, and ice water that I let sit refrigerated at least 12 hours. For this recipe in particular, I opted for a whole wheat crust. Ratios for basic lard crusts are all over the internet and no matter which one I use, I come out with a deliciously flaky crust each and every time. However, we also have a fantastic recipe on our blog. Take a look!
Pork, Apple, and Cider Pie
Serves 4-6 (depends how hungry you are!)
Lard or cooking oil of choice
1.5-2.5 kg ground pork
1-2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1L apple cider (can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic; I used Triple Jim’s Jonagold – superb!)
3-4 cups broth of choice
1 large potato, chopped into 1cm cubes
2 tablespoons sage (if fresh, chopped)
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Sea salt + black pepper, to taste
3-4 tart apples, chopped into ½ inch cubes
1 double pie crust – great recipe found here!
1 egg, lightly beaten
Put a bit of lard or oil in large saucepan over high heat until liquefied. Once heated, add pork and cook in batches until browned (4-5 minutes per batch). Remove pork and set aside.
In same pan, add onion and garlic and heat over medium heat until softened. If needed, add additional fat, lard, or cooking oil. Return pork to pan and add cider and stock. Reduce to low, cover pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Add potato, sage, vinegar, and salt and pepper and cook until potatoes and pork are tender. During the 1 hour simmer, liquid will have drastically reduced. Add additional stock or cider (water will also work) if needed, so that pork continues to cook in liquid until falling apart. Remove from heat and stir through apples.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line pie dish with crust and spook in pork mixture. Lattice or place full second crust on top of mixture and brush with egg wash. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. I find protecting the edges of crust with aluminum foil for first 20 minutes works well. Remove from oven & enjoy!
Adapted from Lisa at Spicy Ice Cream