A few weeks ago I received the sweetest delivery; some darling Pink Ladies from Aussie Apples! So this is a somewhat delayed post due to the unfortunate demise of my mandolin. RIP, old, orange friend! I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks to acquire a new one. It’s so super fancy, so fancy in fact that it nearly cut my finger off. Awww yeah.
Resisting the urge to transform these apples into some kind of dessert (because I really ought to grow up and get my savoury on a little more often) I thought… h’ordeuvres are cool, right? Wonderfully miniature food you can knock back in one mouthful. So, what pairs well with apple? Pork! Ohh, but the whole pulled pork thing is so overdone these days. Why don’t I throw some roasted apple in there to mix it up a bit? Hmm. No. WAIT! I’ll place the pork ON THE APPLE AS LITTLE, EDIBLE PLATES AND IT WILL BE GREAT! And lord knows I love making fruity crisps. And so it was done. Well, the pork was… then my mandolin broke… so I had to wait, my mind heavy with h’ordeuvre love for a few weeks.
Last time I prepared pulled pork I doused my slow-cooker with beer, which was awesome, but incredibly rich. I considered a 50/50 combination of beer and apple juice until I realised cider would be a much better idea. Thankfully I have a few bottles of homebrewed cider sitting in my room. It’s… not the greatest tasting beverage (why did I use a dry wine yeast to make a fruity cider?!) but it’s ultra-tang makes it very special for cooking. Salty, cidery pork with a sweet, crunchy, apple aftertaste is my idea of fantastic treat.
I can’t wait to make this for a super funtime party soon. This should make around 60 pieces.
Slow Cooked Cider Pulled Pork on Apple Crisps
(an original recipe)
Cider pulled pork
600g pork chops or shoulder
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs paprika
2 tbs cumin
2 tbs crushed coriander seeds
1 diced onion
1 cup apple cider
1 tbs mustard
2 tbs chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
Splash of worcestershire sauce
Splash of soy sauce
A few spinach leaves
Chili flakes (optional)
For the apple crisp
1. Slice apples on the thinest setting on a mandolin. Preheat oven to 80°C. Lay slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and allow to dehydrate in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through. Once ready, remove from trays and allow to cool on wire racks.
NOTE: This can be done a day ahead. If you find the crisps a little on the limp side the following day you can always re-crisp them in the oven for a few minutes.
For the slow cooked cider pulled pork
1. Combine spices with a little salt and rub into pork pieces. Prepare your slow cooker with a splash of olive oil, and it if has a browning option, add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add pork pieces to brown. Add the cider and other ingredients, turn on the slow cooker option and leave to cook for 6 hours. Check every 1 1/2 hours to turn the pork.
2. Once the pork is tender and cooked through remove pork onto a chopping board and decant juices into a saucepan. Discard any bones. Place over medium-high heat and reduce until halved. Meanwhile, gently break up the pork with two forks (you don’t need to be too thorough) and place into the saucepan of reduced pork juice. Continue to stir and break up the meat until it has reduced a little more; you want the pork to be moist but not too soupy. Remove from heat.
NOTE: This can also be done a day ahead; once prepared from the slow cooker you can separate both meat and juice and refrigerate (or even freeze) for a couple of days until you’re ready. This also provides an opportunity to skim off any fat that may solidify on the surface.
For the assembly
1. Because the apple will curl slightly in the oven, place the crisps the right way up so they stand like a little bowl. Place a small, or a piece of, spinach leaf over the crisp to cover the gap where the core and seeds once were. Top with a generous pinch of pork followed by a sprinkling of dried thyme and chili flakes.
Mouthfuls of pure happy, these are. I do hope you’re able to try them! GET SOME PORK ON YOUR FORK! And thank you again to Bite Communications and Aussie Apples for the apples. Support your local growers!