Friday, September 11, 2015

Cooking Cove: Cider Braised Pork with Acorn Squash

The wild hair struck. You know. The one you get when fall giddiness kicks in and you are just dying to make a dish built around squash or apples or pumpkins... You know. A trip to our local Harvest Meat Market yielded gorgeous green and orange speckled acorn squash for a $1 each and a seriously luscious Boston Butt. Which I love making cider braised pork but this was my first time pairing it with brown sugar buttered acorn squash.

This cider braised pork recipe can be used with either a Boston Butt cut or a Picnic Shoulder. I bet cutting the cooking time significantly would allow a tenderloin to be used as well. 

Cider Braised Pork (adapted from Gourmet December 2001):

3 pounds of pork
olive oil and butter
1-3 sweet yellow onions, sliced
3/4 cup of unfiltered apple cider or apple juice

First preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then rinse and pat dry your hunk 'o meat. Salt and pepper all over. Heat a Dutch oven (aka: a nice sized pot with a fitted lid that can work on the stove AND in the oven) over medium high. Add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a fat pat of butter. Wait until the oil and butter are popping hot. Sear the meat on all sides until deep golden brown. The trick is to let it just sit for a handful of minutes. No tinkering. Then flip and sit again until all sides are seared. Place seared meat on a plate.

Cut up one or two or three sweet yellow onions. The more the merrier. Add to the pot of hot oil and saute until caramelized. Sprinkle some salt in there.

Stir in the cider (or unfiltered apple juice works well too) and return the pork back to the pot.

Cover with the lid and braise in the over for about 3 hours. Leave room for your squash to go in there.

Slice the acorn squash in half, from stem to pointy booty. Please be careful, these fellas are tough. Scoop out seeds. Slice a teeny bit off the underside so they sit flat. Rub the cavity with butter.

Sprinkle salt and pepper all over then brown sugar, leaving a healthy pinch of brown sugar in the hole. Top with a thin pat of butter. Place in the oven with the pork. Mine were done (golden brown, tender flesh) just before the pork. 

Pull the meat apart into coarse chunks and nestle gently in the acorn bowl. Make sure you get a mess of onions in there too. Season to taste and enjoy the flavors of autumn. Even the hubs who doesn't like anything too fancy, enjoyed it. 

Do you have a favorite fall comfort meal? Please share!


  1. This hits me right in the fall feels Julie!! I think I am going to have to make this ASAP (or, this coming week when our ovens are supposed to be installed!) I always make pulled pork in the crock pot so this will be a fun experiment!

    1. Yay!!! It did me too. Oooooo new ovens?! That is exciting! Make that inaugural meal a good one <3 the crock pot is just a marvelous invention. I don't use mine near enough. I keep lusting after a gas burner stove. But I don't think we can readily get gas lines out to us.

  2. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM pork! Cider braised pork?! Yum! I've never had acorn squash, is it similar to anything else? This look so delicious.

    1. It was SO YUM. With the butter and brown sugar it reminded me of sweet potato in flavor and texture. Just more mellow and nutty.