It might be the first day of spring, but that doesn’t mean that the weather got the memo! Contrary to popular hope/the calendar, it is not super warm out there, and not even sunny. This is not the end of winter, folks! Sorry to disappoint, but at least you will be able to squeeze in a few more braises/stews/chilies/etc.
I don’t know why, but time and again this winter I have turned to pork for the basis of so many comfort food dishes. Pork shoulder, braised with chillies and served on top of soft polenta, or pork marinated in rice wine, honey, and garlic, or a crowd-pleasing stuffed pork loin. I suppose I should be focusing on spring-like food, but I don’t know if I’m ready to give up the warm comforting winter dishes I’ve grown so accustomed to. What am I saying – of course I am. Luckily, this pork stuffing (or “apple relish” if you will), is still warm (as cooked food tends to be…), but it’s also a nice way to usher in spring, what with the apples and dried cherries. Perfect for now, when the nights are cool but you want a big pop of colour (and flavour of course) in your kitchen. Pork on, ladies and gents!
Apple and Cherry Stuffing
– 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/4 cup onion, chopped
– 2 apples, chopped large
– 1/2 red chilli, chopped fine
– 1/2 tsp mustard (Dijon or grainy is good but others are fine)
– 2-3 Tbsp white wine/apple cider vinegar
– 1 tsp thyme
– 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1. Soften the onion in the olive oil over medium heat, 5-8 min; once onion is translucent and soft, add the apple and chilli.
2. Cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until the apples begin to soften. Add the cherries and stir to combine.
3. Add the mustard and the vinegar, and allow the liquid to cook off (this will happen very quickly). Add in the thyme, and season to taste.
4. If the mixture looks dry or not soft enough, or the cherries are still very dry, add a little bit of water or chicken stock (maybe about 1/4 cup) and mix that in. Continue cooking until most of liquid has evaporated. You want the resulting mixture to be somewhat damp and hold together, but not for there to be a ton of liquid.
You can either stuff a pork chop or tenderloin with this relish and bake it, or alternatively just serve it on the side. Either way, it’s delicious – the freshness of the apple and the sweet cherries make a fabulous counterpoint to the meaty (and, we all know, somewhat bland), pork. Happy first day of spring folks…aaand it definitely started to snow as I wrote this. Stay delicious! ;)