Day Four: Pork and Apple Shepherd’s Pie

21 Oct

Yesterday was a personal trifecta – the Yankees beat the Rangers to keep that series alive (sorry Uncle Jim), my dinner turned out great, and most importantly, the Giants kicked the Phillies butts. It was a good day.

Okay, back to dinner. This dish was outstanding. According to my husband, it needs to be a house staple, like (and I quote) dijon mustard, Hellman’s mayo, bread and butter pickles and peanut butter and jelly. Well okay then, I guess it was a success.

I have a recipe for a Normandy-style chicken, which is baked with Calvados, cream and apples, then topped with a parsnip-potato mash. It is a really tasty dish that I thought would translate to pork well, with some modifications. And so the Pork and Apple Shepherd’s Pie was made.

The milk with the infused herbs and spices really makes the mashed potatoes stand out and complements the filling wonderfully, while the pork itself is super tender and just melts with the apple. The dish isn’t super heavy, but has a creaminess to it that I loved. The flavors all combine together perfectly to make one tasty meal.

I kept the skin on both the potatoes and the apples – to me, there is no point in taking the time to peel them. It makes it a bit more rustic feeling, and you can keep some of the good healthy stuff in the peel/skin. But if you prefer, you can definitely peel them. Also, if you don’t have Calvados, you can substitute apple jack or any other regular, non-apple brandy here.

I used a chardonnay that was not overly oakey and paired nicely with the meal. We served a simple green salad on the side, with ricotta salata crumbles and a homemade dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and homemade mustard with thyme. This is a super comforting fall or winter dinner, and could easily be doubled or tripled to serve more people.


Pork and Apple Shepherd’s Pie (serves about 2-3 people)

  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 slices pancetta, cut into pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 pork shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces, excess fat removed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary,chopped
  • 1/8 c white wine
  • 1/4 c Calvados
  • 1/2 c stock (I used beef stock, but chicken would work fine too)
  • 1/2 c  Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
  • 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp flour (or gluten-free flour mix)

In a dutch oven, saute the onion, pancetta and garlic in 1 tbsp butter for 5 to 7 min. Remove from pan and reserve.

Season pork with salt and pepper. Brown in dutch oven for 8 to 10 min, till lightly browned. Add herbs, wine, Calvados, stock and onion/garlic/pancetta mix. Bring to boil. Immediately turn to simmer and cover pan. Simmer about 1.5 hours, until pork is tender.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes until tender. Place milk, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and nutmeg in sauce pan. Bring to boil and immediately turn off heat and cover. Let sit at least30 min. Drain potatoes and return to pan. Add milk (minus thyme and bay leaf) and 2 tbsp butter; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

When the pork is done, remove pork and other solids from dutch oven and put in a bowl; with two forks, break the meat up into smaller bits. Pour the cooking liquid into another bowl and set aside. Mix 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp flour mix; add to dutch oven and cook for about 3 min over medium heat, until the butter is foaming. Add apples and cooking liquid; bring to a boil and cook for 5 min, until it begins to thicken and reduce. Return pork mixture to the pan and cook an additional 5 – 7 min, until thickened more.

Pour pork mixture into a casserole/baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes and bake for 20 min, until liquid is bubbling at edges. Place a baking pan on a rack under the casserole dish to catch any spill over. Turn to broil for 5 min to brown top of potatoes. Let stand 10 min before serving.




One Response to “Day Four: Pork and Apple Shepherd’s Pie”


  1. Pork Free Post: Thanksgiving…..and the Leftovers « 100 Days of Pork Shoulder - November 30, 2010

    […] did not taste “special needs” at all. For the mashed potatoes I took a cue from my shepherd’s pie recipe, and made an herb infused milk that was added along with cream and butter. It just gave it […]

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