A classic dish from the United Kingdom, pork stew welcomes the added ingredient of cider. For David Robertson, vice president of marketing at Rootstock Hard Cider in Williamson, New York, he mirrors this cozy January recipe after English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s standard.
For Robertson, pork and cider stew hits close to home. “Pork and cider stew is a classic comfort food in the Northeast,” he explains. “Growing up in a traditional New England home, pork was always on the weekly dinner menu, as was traditional sweet cider in the fall.”
Rootstock was the first post-Prohibition farmstead cidery in the greater Rochester region, sourcing local ingredients and using apples picked straight from the estate fourth-generation DeFisher Fruit Farms. More than 500 acres of orchard sprawls near the southern shores of Lake Ontario within Wayne County, the largest apple producing county in the United States. Robertson had six mainstay ciders to choose from, but went with the flagship when reconstructing this dish.
“I chose [this cider] because of its taste profile, residual sugar level and all natural ingredients,” Robertson says, noting that just New York State-grown Pinata and Ida Red apples and yeast were used in the blend. “Original, a fruit-forward semi-sweet cider, had the characteristics I was searching for in a hard cider: intriguing apple aroma and flavor and balanced acidity… Characteristics [that] balance well with the mildness of the pork. Original’s flavor enhances this savory stew while not getting lost in the blend of vegetable and herb favors.”
With the Original as his go-to cider for pairing with this dish, Robertson also recommends it for the cider cooking novice in the kitchen as well. “Be fearless, explore and experiment with your favorite recipes and the many quality handcrafted ciders that we’re blessed with in North America,” he advises. “Whether pairing with food by-the-glass or adding to a tasty recipe, it’s a joy to gather with family and friends to celebrate the bounty of exceptional hard ciders.”
Pork and Rootstock Hard Cider Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 tablespoon of flour
1 can (28 ounce) stewed, chopped tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound diced pork
16 ounces Rootstock Original Hard Cider
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Wash, peel and roughly chop the vegetables. In a casserole dish over medium heat, add olive oil to coat and tip in the vegetables and sage. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the diced pork and the flour, followed by the cider and chopped tomatoes. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stir to combine then place the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, removing the lid for the final hour of cooking.
Serve in bowls with a chilled glass of Rootstock Hard Cider and cornbread muffins.