Pork and Cider Casserole is the ultimate comfort food. Delicious melt-in-the-mouth pork in a tangy cider sauce. Perfect for autumn evenings.
This has always been one of my favourite recipes, and certainly one of my favourite pork recipes.
There are some meals that I go through phases with. I’ll eat them loads for a while (especially if I’m working on a recipe). Then, they’ll get forgotten until I’m searching my blog for something different to add to our meal plans.
Then there are things like this pork and cider casserole recipe (or the chicken version) that we probably eat at least once a month, all through autumn and winter.
I love a casserole on a busy Saturday. After a day of driving the kids to lessons and tackling the challenge of washing and drying school uniforms without being able to hang them outside, a filling, warming casserole with creamy mash or crusty bread is perfect.
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Why I Love Easy Pork and Cider Casserole
I adore this recipe for pork and cider casserole because:
- It’s a long bake, so the meat is wonderfully tender, but the active cooking time is fairly low.
- A cider casserole simmering away for hours means that your house smells wonderful.
- The sauce is perfect for bread.
- You can reheat leftovers easily.
- Pork with cider is just the perfect combo, like grown-up pork and apple.
- There’s nothing like sitting around and sharing a big casserole when the weather is bad.
- Pork is much cheaper than lamb or beef, but this casserole has tons of flavour.
Ingredients For Pork and Cider Casserole
Pork in Cider and Cream Casserole is a simple recipe without any complicated ingredients. When I make it, I use:
Diced Pork – If you can’t get diced pork, chop up some steaks or chops for your pork in cider recipe.
Bacon – Any kind is fine. The day I took photos, I used smoked streaky bacon, but I’ve also made this recipe with back and unsmoked.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Crème Fraîche– I don’t recommend low-fat options, as they can separate when added to hot liquid.
Cornflour – If you don’t have cornflour, plain will do.
You’ll Also Need
I use a sharp knife, a chopping board, and a peeler to prep my veggies. A jug and whisk for the stock and crème fraiche, and a spatula to stir everything together.
I cook my cider and pork casserole in a large cast iron Dutch Oven. This has a lid and is suitable for use on the hob and in the oven, so you don’t need to worry about transferring your casserole before baking.
If you don’t have a flameproof and heatproof dish, start in a large pan on the hob before transferring to a lidded ovenproof dish to bake.
How to Make Pork and Cider Casserole – Step-by-Step Instructions
Full, easy-to-follow instructions and quantities are available in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Melt the butter in a large, lidded, flameproof, heatproof dish over medium heat on the hob.
Add the pork and fry for 5 minutes, stirring often until browned. If your pork chunks are really big, you might want to chop them a little smaller.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and leave it in a bowl to one side. Leave any juice in the dish and add more butter if you need to (I generally don’t).
Add the onions to the dish and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often until the bacon is browning. If your bacon is stuck together, don’t worry. It will come apart as it cooks, and you stir it.
Return the pork and any juice that’s collected in the bowl, and add the shallots. Stir in.
Add the carrots and a good pinch of black pepper.
Pour in the stock and the cider and stir together well. The cider will fizz up a bit, but this is fine.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (fan-assisted).
Bring the casserole to a simmer, stir, making sure you scrape the bottom of the dish, and remove from the heat.
Cover and carefully place in the oven. Bake for two hours.
If you haven’t got time to leave it for this long, one will do. But two is better.
Mix the crème fraîche, cornflour, tarragon and mustard with a splash of water in a bowl or jug. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth, but you shouldn’t be able to see any flour. Add a little more water if you need to.
Remove the casserole from the oven and carefully stir in the creme fraiche mixture. If it’s too dry, stir in a cup of water or more stock. I think water is fine.
Return to the oven uncovered and bake for a further 30 minutes.
Most of my tips are included in the instructions, but:
- Use a big dish.
- Preheat the oven so the temperature stays even, and you don’t put a hot casserole into a cold oven.
- Add more water if you need to; if it’s too watery, simmer on the hob for 15 minutes before serving.
- Use dry cider and full-fat crème fraiche.
- I prefer lean pork, but that’s just my preference.
What to Serve with Pork Casserole
This casserole doesn’t have potatoes, so I often serve with fluffy mashed potatoes. The kids like crusty homemade bread to dip in the sauce.
Other potatoes would be fine, too.
While I think this pork and apple cider casserole recipe is perfect, there are a few things you could do differently.
There are a few alternatives if you don’t want to or can’t use cider.
Alcohol-free cider would be my preference, as the taste is similar. But I realise that this isn’t always an option.
You could use apple juice. But because apple juice is sweeter than dry cider, I’d only use half the amount and increase the stock to compensate.
Another option is just using more stock, but the flavour would be vastly different, and you’d use the tang.
Creamy pork and cider casserole with crème fraiche is fantastic. But you can still get the creaminess with a splash of double cream, soured cream, or Greek or natural yoghurt.
Whatever dairy you add, I recommend using the full-fat option.
If there are any special diets dairy-free alternatives could work too.
Pork leek and cider casserole would be lovely. But I think it’s a bit much with the shallots and onion, and I prefer to just add carrots.
Large, chopped carrots are fine. But I sometimes make this pork casserole with top and bottomed (not peeled) chantenay carrots, which are my absolute favourites.
Pork Chops in Cider Casserole
If you don’t have diced pork, you can chop up some pork shoulder steaks or chops instead.
Pork and cider stew can be reheated on the hob or in the oven the next day. I’d simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding extra water or stock if needed.
Make sure the pork is piping hot before serving.
Disclaimer: While I aim to be as accurate as possible, any advice in this post, including but not limited to, cooking times, quantities, nutritional information and storage and freezing guidance is based on my own experience. Please use your own skills, knowledge and judgement, and get up to date food safety information.
Remove leftover pork cider casserole from the cooking dish and place in a clean tub or dish.
Once cool, seal and cover. Place in the fridge for 1-2 days.
I don’t recommend freezing.
Yes. As long as the pork was kept safely and is still in date. Dice the cooked pork and add it when the pork is returned in this recipe, skipping the browning.
Dry cider is best in casserole, but don’t worry too much about getting a specific kind. Any apple cider will do.
Yes, you can use a non-alcoholic cider or apple juice. Apple juice is much sweeter, so I’d rather use alcohol-free cider. If you use apple juice, I’d use half as much and replace it with water or stock.
You could make this recipe in a slow cooker, yes.
I cook this pork casserole for 2.5 hours to make the pork tender and the sauce flavourful. It’s certainly edible much sooner, though. I’d bake for at least an hour. Really, when it comes to how long to cook pork casserole – the longer, the better.
I use my cast-iron Dutch oven, which is flameproof and heatproof, making this a one-pan dinner.
However, if you haven’t got anything you can use in the oven and on the hob, start in a large frying pan or saucepan before transferring to a lidded ovenproof dish to bake in the oven.
Nowadays, we use the words fairly interchangeably. I believe historically, stew was simmered on the hob and casserole baked in the oven. I’m guilty of swapping them about a lot.
If you enjoy this recipe for pork in cider casserole, you might also want to try these casserole recipes:
- Sausage and Chorizo Casserole
- Pork and Apple Casserole
- Sausage and Beer Casserole
- Minted Lamb Casserole
- Beef and Red Wine Casserole
- Sausage and Butterbean Casserole
- Leftover Roast Pork Stew