The Cottage Smallholder

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Slow Cooker Chef: Tender pork shoulder braised in light beer, with apple, ginger and honey recipe


Photo: Just four more bites

Photo: Just four more bites

Danny bought some pork shoulder steaks this week. He wanted to try out a pork, mushroom and cream recipe that he had found at the local supermarket.
“The pork is sautéed in a pan. I don’t feel confident as I reckon that it should be fillet.”
He was right – the pork was chewy and disappointing.

It wasn’t Danny’s fault. Shoulder was the wrong cut for the recipe unless you really want to put the sharpness of your teeth to the test. He did however make an excellent rice and bell pepper dish to accompany the pork. This was the perfect foil to the fattiness of the meat and would probably work well with a lamb based dish too. By cooking the peppers seperately and stiring them in at the end their sweet flavour was enhanced.

Yesterday I decided to try cooking the three remaining steaks in the slow cooker. The dogs have munched through a handful of my cooking disasters recently, so this time I was absolutely determined to make something tasty. Surely slow cooking would improve the texture and flavour of the pork? The slow cooker angel must have been fluttering about as the final result was superb. Tender flavoursome pork on a bed of Danny’s bell pepper rice. This recipe would be perfect for a budget dinner party and would feed four with a starter and pud.

Tender pork shoulder braised in light beer, with apple, ginger and honey

At the beginning
500g of pork shoulder diced into 2cm squares rolled in
3 tbsp of flour
225g of Bramley cooking apples peeled and chopped
A small handful of dried mushrooms (chopped and soaked in 250ml of boiling water for 5 minutes)
10g of dried onions or 100g of fresh onion (chopped)
250ml of light beer
1 tsp of garlic granules
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 large pinch of cayenne pepper
1 chicken stock cube and 2 tsp of vegetable stock powder
1 tbsp of mushroom ketchup
3 tbsp of runny honey

At the end
2 tsp of cornflour
Half a tsp of chilli sherry – or a little more cayenne to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Parsley to serve

Danny’s bell pepper rice recipe
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 tsp of olive oil
Chicken stock cube
100g of basmati rice
Large pinch of salt
A saucepan of boiling water to cover the rice by at least an inch


Put all the ingredients from the “At the beginning section” in the slow cooker/crock pot. Stir well. If all the ingredients are not covered with liquid top up with a little extra water. Put the lid on and set it to high. When the mixture is bubbling stir and leave (lid on) for two hours.

Then switch the temperature to low for an hour. Check that the pork is tender and if necessary continue cooking for a bit longer.

When the meat is tender drain the juices, using a sieve into a separate saucepan. Put the meat and the rest back into the slow cooker to keep warm (dial turned to off).

Add a little of the juice to the cornflour to make a paste, stir this into the liquid and simmer until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half.  This step is important as it concentrates the flavours.

Meanwhile prepare the peppers and the rice.
Put the chopped peppers into and oven proof dish and coat them with the olive oil. Pop them into a preheated oven at 180c fan for 15-20 minutes. Andrew took care of this for me. They could also be gently cooked in a sauteée pan (with lid) on the hob.

Rinse the rice under cold water and bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the stock cube, rice and a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer the rice following the timings on the pack – our Basmati rice takes about 12 minutes. Stir the soft peppers into the rice just before serving.

When the rice is ready, add the pork etc to the reduced sauce. Season with salt and lots of ground black pepper. Add a dash of chilli sherry to taste. Serve on a bed of Danny’s rice with a good sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley.

  Leave a reply


  1. brightsprite

    Fiona – fantastic – you must be psychic!
    I took out some pork shoulder steaks earlier today, and thought about a recipe. Ah, I wonder if Fiona has a recipe for me – et voila – here it is.
    Merci beaucoup!
    I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  2. Always on the lookout for slow cooker recipes – I’ve recently rediscivered mine – I’ll be bookmarking this one

  3. This in interesting because I’ve just bought some pork shoulder, some apple and some cider with a view to a slow cooked creation. Many thanks!

  4. Oooh, yummy. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend!

    Just to clarify: when you say “Put the lid on and set it to high. When the mixture is bubbling stir and leave (lid on) for two hours”, by “leave (lid on)” you mean leave it on high?


  5. Sorry to double post, but a couple of questions just popped into my head: If I were using fresh ginger, how much would you recommend? And do you have a suggestion for a substitute for chilli sherry? It sounds delicious and I don’t want to miss out on the extra flavour but don’t have time to make some before Sunday! 😀

    Sorry for all the extra questions/hassle…

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Brightsprite

    We were so dissapointed with the supermarket recipe that I pulled out all stops for this one! Do hope that you enjoy it.

    Hi Beth

    Great! There are quite a few slow cooker recipes on the site as I use it a lot and don’t have a slow cooker cook book.

    Hi Joy

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Hi Badger

    Yes you cook it on high for two hours and then low for one hour. Lid on all the time.

    If I was going to use fresh ginger – I’d start with half a level teaspoon of finely grated ginger. To get round the chilli sherry ingredient add a little more cayenne pepper, use one pinch increments as you want a chilli buzz rather than blow your head off.

  7. Slow cooking is sooo good, especially as I have to collect hungry monsters from school, some 14 miles from home. The cool thing is, I can feed them after school then hubby and I eat later – such a doddle.
    Thanks for this recipe, de-li-cious.

  8. This was probably the very best dish that Fiona concocted in the past six months. I would have continued eating seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths if there had been enough (we had to stop at thirds due to there being no more left!).
    The original Waitrose recipe card recipe that I cooked called for a stove top method, with the shoulder steaks browned on both sides first before being simmered in the other ingredients. My opinion now is that shoulder steaks, although they are an economical meat ingredient, are just not suitable for fast cooking.
    As one who is never knowingly underfed, take it from me that this is a fantastic dish. I can’t wait to have it again next week.

  9. Golly that sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try that out in my new slow cooker when we get home from our travels. BTW Fiona – I’ve just given the slow cooker its test drive (beef, red wine and thyme casserole) and the result was wonderful, so thank you for the recommendation; it’s going to be a great addition to my kitchen.

  10. Hey thanks for the advice, folks. I’m really excited to try this out tomorrow for my Valentine’s day dinner (no pressure then!). I think I’ll brown the pork shoulder cubes first, just because I feel funny about unbrowned meat in stews (is that weird?). And t’s my first time cooking with a islow-cooker – I got one for Christmas but haven’t used it yet, so it’s doubly exciting. Well, *I’m* excited anyway.

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