So, this braised pork situation is a total dream. It has tons of fall-time flavor, a little tartness from sour cherries, a bit of boozy twang, plus it’s nestled atop a warm, creamy puddle of cheesy polenta. It’s celebratory, even, and what do you know? I made it to celebrate the wonderful Jessica in honor of her and her sweet little babe who is due in just weeks! I am SO excited for Jessica, I can barely handle it. Bev and Ashley so kindly organized this mega-virtual-baby-shower deal and there are a TON of bloggers making all kinds of “trashed-up” fare all in the name of one of our favorite bloggers around. I mean, Jessica is a recipe-making-machine and an endless inspiration…plus she is so sweet and fun…that it’s only natural that so many of her imaginary internet friends would want to celebrate her upcoming mama-hood together.
I’ve had this recipe idea swimming around in my brains since well before the crispy fall leaves started to hit the ground and I knew it’d be the perfect dish to make for this event. I mean, it has booze, but it’s cooked booze and mama-friendly. Plus it contains sour cherries–the pride and joy of Michigan, which if you read Jessica’s blog you know that she has a special place in here heart for the mitten-state. And, there’s a cheesy polenta bed for it to rest on…because, I mean…cheese ya’ll. AND, it’s a slow cooker recipe, so the hands-on time is minimal.
Anyway, huge-mega-watt CONGRATS to Jessica and Eddie and that sweet little baby!! I cannot wait to see and hear and read all about this new little person and see where motherhood takes you, Jessica. It’s truly amazing and wonderful and amazing and life-changing and awesome…did I say amazing? Well, it is.
Be sure to check out the massive amount of crazy-delicious recipes contributed by so many other amazing bloggers in Baby How Sweet’s honor! Seriously, this is my kind of party.
trashed up salads
trashed up cocktails
trashed up burgers
trashed up tacos
trashed up desserts
trashed up pizza
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
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
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]