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Slow Cooker Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta

[recipe]

Slow Cooker Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta

Makes 6-8 hearty servings

3 to 3 1/2 pounds boneless country style pork ribs, cut into large chunks

salt

2 cups hard apple cider

2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges (I used honeycrisp)

1 onion, cut into wedges

1/2 heaping cup dried sour cherries

1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary

chives, optional, for garnish

1 cup polenta

5 cups water

salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Heat a large skillet over high heat, sprinkle the pork liberally with salt and brown each piece in all sides (this step is optional, but recommended for maximum deliciousness), remove the pork from the pan and add about 1/4 cup of the hard cider, scraping up the browned bits as it bubbles. Pour the cider and browned bits, along with the browned pork pieces into a slow cooker, and add the remaining hard cider, apples, onion, sour cherries, and minced rosemary. Cover and set the slow cooker to high for 6 hours. Serve over cheesy polenta with lots of the pan juices and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Before serving, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil with a big pinch of salt. Slowly stir in the polenta with a whisk and turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes until the polenta is soft and creamy. Stir in the butter and cheese, add additional salt to taste. [/recipe]