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. Lorette

    just done your recipe for tonight’s dinner- with an extra spoonful of grain mustard to go with the 250ml of cider (had no beer- but me think pork, apple and cider can’t go too wrong!). Can’t wait for dinner, thanks for giving me inspiration today 🙂

  2. Hi Fiona really need, well want a slow cooker now, I’ve always ‘overlooked them’ when they were in the sales, I had one years ago and it sat gathering dust so gave it away, durrh!
    After reading all these good reviews on slow cooking, now I’m desperate to try one again, especially as the weather gets colder the smell of a good stew, meal wafting from the kitchen when ‘comfort food’ is required to come home to, ooh, I shall have to try to budget for one next month, can I wait that long? Doubt it, not with the thoughts of the wonderful meals I could be sampling!
    Thanks to you and everones feedback, I shall have to be looking out for one very soon.
    Odelle X

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Odelle

      You won’t regret it. We use ours all year round – slow cooked pasta sauce is divine!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Badger

    It’s fine to ask questions! If you double/treble the amount of meat it will take much longer to get to simmering point. I don’t think that it would necessarily take longer to cook. This dish is even better if left for a day so you could try cooking it in advance and if the meat needs a bit longer you have the time to extend the cooking time.

    It’s important to get a feel of how long things need to cook for. When I first got my slow cooker I tended to cook meat for far too long and ended up with dog meat!

  4. You must be sick of me by now, but I have one final question. We liked this so much I’m under orders to cook it again for friends this weekend. If I were to double (or even treble) the amount of meat, should I extend the cooking time, or will 3 hours still suffice?

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Badger

    That’s great news! Thank you so much for the feedback.

  6. Hi Fiona,
    It worked! And what a marvellous combination of flavours. The sauce was extraordinarily delicious: really zingy and savoury all at the same time, with really tender meat. I used a dash of marsala with a pinch of cayenne to substitute for the chili sherry, and it worked a treat.

    And most importantly, the hubby loved it too – lots of Valentine’s Day brownie points were earned!

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lou

    I use our slow cooker a lot, it really enhances the flavours of anything.

    BTW I love the picture of your house on your blog!

    Hi Bib

    I had no idea what I was missing out until I tied steak and kidney as my test run. Wow. I wish that someone had tipped me off years ago.

    Hi Badger

    If it just has on or off that’s fine. This is equivalent to our auto button. This will bring the food quickly to the right temperature and then automatically set it to low.

  8. I’ve just discovered that my slow cooker doesn’t have low/med/hi settings – it’s either “on” or “off”. Ok, well, here goes anyway.

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