Main Dish

Brandy-Infused Braised Pork with Apples

Wilson Winery

1960 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Diane Wilson and Donna Parsons
  • YIELD: Serves 12
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Wilson Cypress Ridge Russian River Valley Zinfandel

Pork and apples are a dynamic duo, one of the world's classic flavor combinations. Add smoky bacon, sweet caramelized onions, the tang of apple cider vinegar and a splash of flavor-boosting Jepson brandy, and the complexity and deliciousness of this dish simply soar.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Jepson brandy
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider (preferably fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 3 tart apples, such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the butter to the pot with the bacon drippings. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, add the pork and cook until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Reduce the heat if the pork is getting too dark. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften. Remove the pot from the heat, add the brandy and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Return the pot to the heat and simmer for 1 minute.

Add the apple cider and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Return the pork to the pot, placing it in a single layer on the bottom, yet don't completely cover it. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook, turning the pork after 1 hour, until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours total. Stir in the reserved bacon.

Transfer the pork to a deep platter. Skim the fat off the cooking liquid. Place the pot over medium heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the apples and cook until they are just tender and the sauce is slightly reduced, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if needed. Pour the sauce with the apples over the pork and serve.

Wilson Winery

1960 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448