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Cider-Braised Pork Loin

Caramelized apples top this cider-glazed pork loin and ribs.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2000

Ingredients

  • 1 pork loin and 1 rack of 8 ribs (about 5 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus more for apples
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for apples
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • Mashed Roasted Butternut Squash

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Rub rack of ribs with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place a 7-quart flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add rack of ribs; brown, 8 to 10 minutes on each side, and remove. Pour out excess fat from the casserole.

  2. Deglaze the pan: Add 2 cups apple cider; stir with a wooden spoon until bottom of the casserole is clean. Add chicken stock, cider vinegar, onions, thyme, and parsley. Cut 2 apples in half; add to casserole. Return ribs to casserole. Bring to a simmer, transfer casserole to the oven, and cook for 2 hours.

  3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet. Season pork loin with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. When oil is hot but not smoking, add loin. It should sizzle as soon as it hits the skillet. Sear until golden brown on all sides, 10 to15 minutes.

  4. Transfer 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the casserole to a shallow bowl or fat separator, and let stand to cool. Add loin to casserole, return to oven, and cook until meat thermometer inserted into loin registers 150 degrees, about 40 more minutes.

  5. Skim fat from reserved cooking liquid. Strain liquid; combine in medium saucepan with remaining 2 cups cider. Set over medium heat; simmer until reduced by a little more than half and amber in color and with a slightly viscous consistency.

  6. Place large skillet over medium heat. Peel and core remaining 2 apples, slice into eighths, and arrange in a single layer in hot skillet. Sprinkle with sugar and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until sugar melts, 2 to 3 minutes, and reduce heat. Continue cooking until sugar starts to caramelize, 7 to 8 minutes. Apples should soften and puff, and seared side should start to brown. When the apple slices loosen naturally from pan, turn and cook the other side for 5 to 7 minutes. Add apple-cider sauce to skillet; cook just to heat sauce and dissolve any sugars that have cooked onto pan.

  7. If using sage leaves, heat about 1/2 inch vegetable oil in heavy skillet over medium heat to just below smoking point. Add sage leaves and fry until crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to piece of paper towel.

  8. Slice loin 1/4 inch thick, and cut rack into individual ribs. Serve with apples and sauce, and mashed roasted butternut squash. Garnish with fried sage leaves.

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