For years, I lusted over fancy Dutch ovens.
I imagined having the heavy, tightly covered pot in my cache for all sorts of braising, stew making and more. So last Christmas when I unwrapped the exact one I'd thought about for so long, I was thrilled.
The Dutch oven is perfect for making recipes like my Cider Braised Pork. The pork is browned in olive oil and then braised (with onions and potatoes) in apple cider over low heat. The result is an intensely flavorful dish with sweet undertones.
Don't worry -- you won't mistake it for dessert though. This is definitely a good, hearty dinner (hint: stab a bit of onion with the pork for an amazing bite). Serve it with a salad or some corn and your meal is made.
But what's this braising? Braising is a cooking technique where meat is browned and then slowly cooked in a covered pot with liquid. Sounds like boiling? It's not. You use a small amount of liquid, so the moisture from the liquid circulates in the pot, breaking down the meat and rendering it tender and flavorful (particularly if you use a flavorful liquid).
The best part? Most of the cooking of a dish like this is totally hands-off.
Looking for a braised pork that is even more hands off? Check out Slow Cooker Roast Pork with Fruit
Sarah W. Caron is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah's Cucina Bella.