Crock Pot Normandy Pork With Apples, Shallots & Cider

Recipe by French Tart
READY IN: 6hrs 45mins
SERVES: 8-10
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Trim the pork of any thick fat. Cut into large cubes of about 4" square or even bigger - it shrinks with cooking & works better with larger pieces of meat.
  • Peel the shallots and set to one side.
  • Halve & core the apples and set to one side with the shallots.
  • Turn the crockpot onto High. Mix the cider, cider apple vinegar, creme fraiche, salt & pepper, thyme & thickened chicken stock together in a large pouring jug & pour into the crockpot.(If using fresh thyme - leave to last.) Add the cored and halved apples and replace the lid whilst you brown the pork & shallots.
  • Heat up half the butter & half of the olive oil in a large skillet or wok-type pan, one with fairly high sides.
  • As soon as it is smoking but not burning, brown the shallots in batches - you want a deep caramelised colour & the shallots just softened on the outside. When all the shallots have been done, put them all back into the pan - turn up the heat & add the balsamic vinegar and stir briskly making sure all the shallots are well coated.
  • Add the shallots & Balsamic vinegar mixture to the crockpot.
  • Heat up the remaining butter and oil, adding more if necessary & start to brown the pork pieces, again do not overcrowd the pan - they need to be well coloured & seared to seal in the juices. As the pork pieces are browned, add them to the crockpot.
  • When all the pork is browned & added to the crockpot, give all the ingredients a good mix around in the crockpot with a wooden spoon. If using fresh thyme, pick about 4 large sprigs and place on top of the Normandy Pork - the leaves fall off during cooking & leave the bare branches for throwing away!
  • Cook on high for between 6 - 10 hours.
  • Just before serving, pour in Calvados and mix through. Serve each person with 2 -3 pieces of pork, a cooked apple half & 1 or 2 shallots; add a dollop of creme fraiche on the side & garnish with Thyme & a fresh Apple sliver if desired. Decant the excess sauce into a gravy boat for extra saucy bits!
  • Great with spiced red cabbage, fluffy mashed potatoes or pommes Dauphinoise.
  • To cook in an conventional oven, follow recipe as above, but cook in a La Creuset type oven proof dish; pre-heat oven to 175 C or 350 F and cook slowly for about 6 hours, checking after 4 hours. It will cook quite happily for up to 8 hours if this helps in your time management, you may have to turn the oven down to about 125 C, 250 F after 4 hours for a long slow 8 hour cooking time.
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