This is a Nigel Slater recipe, and I'm a huge fan of his -- something about his recipes always just makes me happy! The star of the show here is definitely the pork roast, and the recipe doesn't specify what type. I told my butcher what I was making, and he recommended a rib cut pork chop roast -- basically it was five pork chops that hadn't been cut apart yet. This cut turned out yummy, but not as tender as I might have liked, and it definitely took longer than the recommended cooking time. But - the flavor was definitely there, so I'd absolutely give this another try and maybe ask my butcher about a different cut of bone-in pork roast next time. Anyone have a recommendation?
As for that flavor, it comes from getting the meat nice and browned before you stew it, and then adding in onions, apples, pears, honey, and pear cider. This makes for pretty much the perfect autumn meal - it's got that great 'stick-to-your-ribs' quality that you might be craving as the weather gets a little chilly. I loved how the fruit softened up -- almost like apple or pear sauce but with the pieces still held together and a more savory element. Add mashed potatoes on the side to complete this dish, and I promise you will not miss summer one bit!
Pork Pot Roast with Pears, Apples, and Honey (adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater)
3-1/2 pounds pork roast on the bone (I used a rib cut pork chop roast, as recommended by my butcher)
Salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 smallish pears
2 smallish apples
2 cups pear cider
1/4 cup honey
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Set a big, oven proof pot or Dutch oven on the stove. Add a good glug of oil and turn the flame to medium-high heat.
3. Season the roast with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add it to the pot and brown on all sides. Save a short side for last so that the roast is turned up on one end and there's some room in the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the onions to the empty space in the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
5. While the onions are softening, quarter the pears and apples and cut out the cores. No need to peel - the peels will help the fruit stay together as it cooks.
6. Push the onions to the edges of the pan and turn the pork so a larger part of it makes contact with the bottom of the pan. Scatter the apples and pears around the pork roast. Pour the cider over, and then drizzle the honey over the pork and fruit.
7. Once the cider comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat. Cover tightly, and bake in the oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes. [After an hour or so, check the meat - I ended up cutting my chops apart to finish the cooking in the final fifteen minutes, but your mileage may vary depending on the specific cut of meat you end up with.]
8. Thinly slice the pork and serve with the fruit, onions, and pan sauce.
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