If I were Dorothy and I just blew back home from my trip to Oz, I’d be wondering if I took a wrong turn on the yellow brick road and ended up in Michigan, not Kansas. It’s farkin’ cold in Wichita this fall. Combine the chilly weather with pubescent growth spurts in both of my girls over the summer, and I’m heading out to buy two entire wardrobes of new winter clothes a month early this year. I may have to consider selling a kidney to pay for it all. Alas, nudity is frowned upon in public schools, so I really do need to pony up the cash and restock the closets.
On the bright side, we are heading back to the kind of weather that gives me an excuse to cook the meals I love best. Soups, stews, roasts and other slow cooking oven dishes, food that fills the house with warm, comforting aromas that smell even better when sniffed with noses still cold from the weather outside.
Pork and Apple Stew
This pork and apple stew is the epitome of fall comfort food. Simmering away slowly, the sweet apple pieces and licorice scented fennel melt together to make a delicious hearty broth for the tender pieces of pork. A big, rustic loaf of bread fresh out of the oven is a must to sop up the juices.
3 lbs pork butt, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 medium onions, diced
½ small head of green cabbage, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup apple cider
3 cups chicken broth
3 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 whole sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tbsp dry
2 sprigs flat leafed parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, brown the pork pieces on all sides. Remove the pork, reduce the head to medium, and add the fennel, onions and cabbage to the pot. Sauté the veggies in the pork dripping for about 5 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze, scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook for a few minutes more. Return the pork pieces to the pot along with the apple cider, chicken broth, apples, bay leaves, rosemary and parsley. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the rosemary, bay leaves, and parsley springs before serving.