This braised winter pork stew includes tender braised pork shoulder, mixed with some of the fall season's best produce. Delicious sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, and apples are served along with the pork in a rich sauce.
When the weather turns chilly stew becomes my favorite comfort food. Most people make a traditional beef stew but you should definitely try out this pork version.
If you love this nice thick comforting stew, you might also be interested in these recipes for Roasted Tomato and Herb Soup, Pork Black Bean and Pumpkin Stew, Cream Free Leek and Potato Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, or one of my absolute favorite stew recipes Dutch Oven Beef Stew.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This hearty stew is easy to double or triple and freezes really well for an even quicker meal later. This is one of my favorite ways to ensure I have a quick and easy meal for a later busy night.
- While the cooking time is long, most of that time is hands-off while the kohlrabi and apple stew braises in the oven until the pork is fall-apart tender and the vegetables are perfectly cooked.
- I have also included slow cooker instructions so that you can choose the cooking method that works best for you.
What is Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family which includes other vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. It comes in two varieties purple and green. Though it may look like it, kohlrabi is not a root vegetable. The bulb grows above the ground and is actually an enlarged portion of the stem.
The word kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip.
What Does Kohlrabi Taste Like?
It has a sweet mild juicy flavor with just a hint of peppery bite. It is very crunchy like an apple. Some people compare it to eating broccoli stems.
Both the leaves and stems are edible. It can be eaten both raw and cooked but should be peeled before being consumed.
How to Peel Kohlrabi
Remove the tender stems with the leaves. They can be used in salads, and soups, or can be sauteed like any other leafy green. Cut off and discard the root end. Remove the tough woody skin with a vegetable peeler or knife.
Using a large sharp knife, cut each kohlrabi in half. Place each half cut side down and cut into ⅓-inch thick slices.
Boneless Pork Roast: Boneless pork roast (sometimes called pork butt, boneless pork shoulder, or Boston butt) is one of those meats that is usually best cooked low and slow. Slow cooking this cut of meat helps to break down the connective tissue making it nice and tender.
This marbled cut of pork produces flavorful tender chunks of pork when cooked for a long time.
Cutting the pork into three pieces helps to reduce the cooking time and creates more surface area to sear and create a crisp crust.
I don't recommend using pork tenderloin or pork chops. They are typically too lean and will dry out during the long braising time. Pork loin and pork chops are better saved for dishes with a shorter cooking time.
Salt and Black Pepper: To maximize flavor, salt and pepper the meat about 30 minutes before cooking. This will allow the salt to permeate into the meat flavoring it throughout. It will also help dry out the surface of the meat ensuring a great sear.
Olive Oil: Don’t worry about using fancy olive oil. Basic olive oil will work just fine for searing the meat.
Yellow Onion: Yellow onion along with garlic is considered an aromatic ingredient and brings additional flavor to the soup.
Garlic: Fresh garlic will give you the best flavor. You can use freshly chopped garlic cloves, chopped garlic from a jar, or use some garlic paste from a tube. If you only have garlic powder reduce the amount to 1 ½ teaspoon for the meatballs and 1 ½ teaspoon for the sauce.
Herbs and Spices: Sage, thyme, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg are all used to flavor the soup. You could substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs but you will need to double the amount.
Chicken Stock: You could also substitute vegetable stock.
Hard Apple Cider: If you are avoiding alcohol try substituting regular apple cider. You could also substitute a semi-dry white wine.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar like other acids helps to brighten the flavor of this soup.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes add an earthy-sweet flavor to the soup.
Kohlrabi: Look for kohlrabi that is firm, blemish-free, and about 3-5 inches in diameter. Avoid kohlrabi that is larger than 5 inches in diameter because it can be woody.
Sometimes kohlrabi can be difficult to find at the store. If you can't find any kohlrabi turnips make a great substitute.
Apples: I like to use a sweet and firm apples. Some of my favorites are gala, fuji, and honey crisp.
Green Beans: Green beans add some color to the soup as well as a crisp crunch. They are added to the soup last to keep them from becoming mushy.
Cutting Board: This is my favorite cutting board from OXO.
Vegetable Peeler: My favorite vegetable peeler is also from OXO. It is comfortable to hold and is still sharp after 5 years of frequent use.
Large Pot: I love simmering soups in my enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven. The thick bottom helps to keep the soup from scorching. Many people love the dutch ovens made by Le Creuset. They are beautiful, durable, and well-made. Unfortunately, their price sticker is a little high for me.
This is why I love my dutch oven from Lodge. It is well made, cooks evenly, and comes in my favorite color at ⅓ of the cost.
Wooden Spoon: A wooden spoon is also great to have to avoid scratching the dutch oven’s enamel coating. My favorite is this wooden spoon from OXO. Its shape is great for scraping along the edge of the pan.
How to Make Winter Pork Stew
Preheat the oven to 325°F and move the oven rack to the lower-middle position.
Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Patting the pork dry before searing it is the easiest way to insure a crispy sear.
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.
Working in batches, add the pork pieces to the pot and sear on all sides, turning with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the seared meat to a bowl.
Note: Crowding the pan by trying to brown all of the meat at once will cause it to steam instead of sear. Preventing the meat from browning and developing a lovely caramelized flavor.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, dried sage, dried thyme, ground mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, stirring continuously, about 1 minute.
Return pork and any accumulated juices back into the dutch oven.
Add the broth and cider. Bring to a boil scraping any additional browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cover, and place in the oven to braise for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and add the vinegar, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, and apples. Cover and place back in the oven for thirty more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven again and add the green beans. Cover and place back in the oven and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
This stew can also be prepared in a slow cooker. I have included those directions in the recipe card below.
- Save the kohlrabi leaves and saute them like you would kale or other leafy green vegetables.
- Brown the pork in batches. Crowding the pan by trying to brown all of the meat at once will cause it to steam instead of sear. Preventing the meat from browning and developing a lovely caramelized flavor.
My favorite side dish for leek and apple soup is bread. A flaky biscuit, crusty bread, cornbread, or a soft roll is great for soaking up every last bit of the delicious gravy. If you have some sourdough starter my favorite rolls are these from Buttered Side Up.
I also usually serve a simple side salad with this soup.
Place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the leftovers in a pot on the stovetop and cook over medium heat until warm.
Like most stews, I think this pork stew tastes even better the next day.
This soup also freezes really well. Place in airtight freezer containers, label with the contents and date, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Allow the soup to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Once thawed, place the leftovers in a pot on the stovetop and cook over medium heat until warm.
Need tips on the best way to freeze beef stew?
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, kohlrabi, especially large ones, has tough woody skin that should be removed with a vegetable peeler or knife.
Kohlrabi is often sold with stems and leaves still attached. You will also need to trim the stems and leaves off. Save the leaves to saute just like you would kale or other leafy green vegetables. My favorite way to prepare kohlrabi leaves is to cook some bacon and then saute the leaves in the bacon grease.
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