Pork & Cider Stew

with

Cheese & Herbs Dumplings

For all of the fine dining I am fortunate enough to sample around the world, there is something about a simple stew of beef, lamb or pork, topped with fluffy dumplings that is very hard to beat. This version uses pork shoulder, which has a real added depth of flavor, and the dumplings are given a twist with lots of chopped herbs and shredded cheese.

Pork & Cider Stew with Cheese & Herbs Dumplings Recipe

(Serves About 4-6)

Ingredients

For the Stew:

  • 2 ½ lbs Pork Shoulder (Cut into 1-inch Cubes)

  • 1 White Onion (Thinly Sliced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 2 Large Carrots (Diced)

  • 2 Sticks Celery (Diced)

  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

  • 1 x 12-oz Can Chopped Tomatoes

  • ½ Cup Hard Cider (Optional – if you don’t use it, increase the stock amount accordingly)

  • 1 ½ Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

  • ¼ Cup Italian Parsley (Chopped)

  • Olive Oil for Sautéing
  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)

  • Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)

 

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Rosemary (Finely Chopped)

  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Parsley (Finely Chopped)

  • 1 Teaspoon Thyme (Finely Chopped)

  • 1 Cup Grated Cheese (I used Cheddar)

  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (Cold & Cubed)

  • 1½ Cups Cold Water

  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter (Melted for Glaze)

 

Instructions

For the Stew:

  1. Add two tablespoons olive oil to a large oven-proof baking dish (I used a cast iron skillet), and bring to a medium heat.

  2. Sear off the cubed pork shoulder until each side has an even brown color.

  3. Remove the pork and keep to one side.

  4. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and bring to a medium heat.

  5. Add the onions. 

  6. Season with salt and pepper, and cook gently until the onions are soft and golden.

  7. Add the garlic and cook gently for two minutes.

  8. Add the carrots and celery, and sauté for two to three minutes.

  9. Add the tomato paste and combine.

  10. Cook for two minutes.

  11. Add the oregano and combine.

  12. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for two minutes.

  13. Add the pork cubes.

  14. Add the cider, the beef stock and the Worcestershire Sauce.

  15. Combine well and place a lid on the pot.

  16. Simmer on a low heat for 60 minutes.

  17. Remove the lid and simmer for another 30 minutes.

  18. By this time, the pork cubes should be tender and the sauce should have reduced by half. If you want a thicker stew, you can mix a little cornstarch and water, and whisk in to thicken the sauce more.

  19. Check for seasoning, and add more salt and/or pepper to taste.

  20. Add the chopped parsley.

 

For the Dumplings:

  1. While the stew is simmering after the lid has been removed, you can make the dumplings.

  2. Place the flour in a mixing bowl.

  3. Add in the salt, pepper, baking powder and chopped herbs.

  4. Combine well.

  5. Add in the grated cheese and combine well.

  6. Add in the cold cubed butter.

  7. With your hands, rub the flour mixture and butter together until the end result resembles breadcrumbs.

  8. Slowly add the water, a bit at a time, and combine until the mixture is a very sticky dough.

 

To Finish:

  1. Using a spoon, place drops of dough a little bigger than a golf ball around the top of the pan of stew.

  2. Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Cook the dumplings uncovered for around 20 minutes.

  4. At the 10 minutes stage, brush the dumplings with the melted butter and sprinkle with a little salt.

  5. Top with more chopped parsley before serving.

  6. Serve with mashed potatoes or plain steamed rice.