Cooking with Cider

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Apple Cider Steak Marinade


1 part Apple Cider 1/2 part Soy Sauce or Teriyaki 1 Teaspoon black pepper 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil


Marinade your favorite steak 24 hours in the combined ingredients. BBQ or Pan-fry till brown.

Pork and Cider Risotto

This is a recipe I made up while we were in our caravan on the Somerset Levels one late October and wanted something cheap, warming and easy to cook in one pan, using the limited facilities available in a 2-berth touring caravan. Like most 'male' cooking, this is a fairly loose recipe and freely adaptable! I cook using the 'bung-it-in-if-you've-got-it' approach...  :-)

Serves 2 - 4 depending upon appetite and what you intend to serve it with.
NB: The proportion of cider to stock is open to interpretation!

4 - 6 (depending upon size) lean slices (rashers) of belly pork
Vegetable oil (Olive oil is best)
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 - 4 mushrooms (depending upon size; flat/field are ideal), finely sliced/diced
200 mls rice (arborio or risotto rice is best but long grain, wild or brown will do)
1 pint real cider (dry or medium - sharper the better)
About 3/4 pint stock - chicken, pork or vegetable (stock cubes are fine)
1 tin sweetcorn (or frozen equivalent)
1 tin garden peas (or frozen equivalent)
Seasoning to taste

Chinese 5-Spice seasoning
Small pot Soured Cream or Creme Fraiche
White pepper for 'heat'
Grated Parmesan for sprinkling over

Trim the belly pork of any rind, bone and gristle/sinew. Trim off any excess fat. Slice / dice into small pieces about 12mm (1/2") wide. Heat a large, deep frying pan or large saucepan over a medium heat and add about a tablespoon of oil. Add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally until well browned all over. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off all fat. Place about 4 pieces of kitchen roll onto a plate and spoon the cooked pork onto this to soak up any remaining fat; leave to drain. Pour off any remaining fat from the pan but do not clean or wipe the pan.

Reduce the heat slightly, put the pan back on the hob and add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and then the diced onion. Stir occasionally until starting to soften and then add the crushed garlic. Cook, stirring for a minute or two and add the cooked pork. Cook for a minute or two and then add the mushrooms. Mix well in the pan, heat through and then add the rice, cook stirring for a couple of minutes until the rice is well coated with oil, but don't allow the rice to brown. Add about a quarter of the cider and stir well. Stir ocassionally until the liquid is starting to be absorbed, then add another quarter of the cider and stir well. Continue stirring occasionally and adding the cider as the liquid is absorbed, until all the cider has been used.

Drain the sweetcorn and peas, and add to the pan, stirring well. Add some of the stock and continue to cook, adding further stock when required as the liquid is absorbed. After 20 minutes or so from adding the first of the cider, taste the rice to check how well it is cooked. Cooking time for risottos can be very variable and depends a lot upon the type of rice used; the target is for the rice to be cooked through and the risotto to have a creamy consistency - it shouldn't be dry. Don't panic if you find you need to add more liquid. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

We serve this simply in warm bowls with slices of fresh, crusty bread - and of course dry cider. It is just as good plated with a mixed crisp green salad.

Note on Options
A half-teaspoon or so of Chinese 5-Spice powder added after the cider adds a subtle oriental flavour. Stirring in a small pot of Soured Cream or Creme Fraiche when cooking is complete gives a more creamy texture.

Cider and Stuffing Pork Chops

Another very loose recipe. Not many fixed quantities, judge by eye and appetite, and how many you want to serve... Any type of pork chop (or steak) will do, shoulder chops are good for slower cooking and cheaper than some other cuts.

2 - 4 Pork Chops, trimmed of any rind and fat
1 x Packet Sage and Onion stuffing
Real Cider - dry or medium
3 or 4 Potatoes depending on size
Half a Swede
2 or 3 Carrots
1 x medium Onion
2 or 3 Leeks
2 x large flat 'field' mushrooms
Freshly ground black pepper
Cornflour for thickening
Seasoning to taste

Some kind of roaster or casserole dish with lid

Heat oven to 180 C. / gas mark 4. Make up the stuffing as per instructions and set aside. Wash the chops well to remove any bone fragments and pat dry with kitchen towel. Peel and dice the swede and carrots. Peel and slice the onion. Wash, trim and slice the leeks. Wash (and peel if desired) the potatoes and cut into 1/4" or 6mm thick slices. Wipe and thinly slice the flat mushrooms.

Put the diced and sliced swede, carrots, onions, leeks and mushrooms into the dish and mix together. Add feshly ground black pepper. Layer the sliced potatoes over the mixed vegetables. Divide the stuffing between the chops and spread over the surface of each chop in a uniform layer.

Pour the cider over the vegetables until the depth of cider reaches the top layer of potatoes. Lay the stuffing-covered chops onto the surface of the potatoes, stuffing upppermost. Cover the dish with the lid and place into the centre of the pre-heated oven. Cook for about one hour and then remove the lid for the last 15 - 20 minutes or so. If you require the stuffing to be a bit crispy on top, raise the position of the dish in the oven after removing the lid or use the grill / top element if you have that facility.

NB The actual cooking time varies greatly on the size and thickness of the pork chops used. Always ensure that the pork meat is thoroughly cooked through.

Remove the chops and keep warm. Strain the liquor from the vegetables into a saucepan; this should have reduced somewhat. Keep the vegetables warm. Add between 1/4 and 1/2 pint medium or sweet cider to the liquor and thicken to personal taste with cornflour. Bring to the boil, simmer for a couple of minutes and adjust the seasoning.

Arrange the chops onto each plate and spoon around some of the sauce. Serve the vegetables in a warmed dish and the sauce in a warmed jug or sauce boat. Have plenty of your favourite real cider or perry available.

Using a medium cider for cooking and adding a sweeter cider to the sauce gives a piquancy and sweetness to the finished dish. A bay leaf or two also adds to the flavour of the dish. A swirl of double or soured cream adds a richness to the sauce.

Different stuffings can be used, for example Garlic and Mushroom. Adding a thick slice of apple (ie Bramley) on top of the stuffing is another alternative, particularly when slightly caramelised after cooking under a hot grill.

Oysters poached in cider, with Lemon Sole and couscous rice

I adapted this from part of a fancy recipe in the Sunday colour supplement, not bothering with the vichyssoise or croutons!

Ingredients - serves two

1 dozen oysters
2 fillets of lemon sole 1 pint of good cider
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of plain couscous


Scrub the oyster shells under a running tap.
Bring the cider, crushed garlic cloves and a generous knob of butter to the boil in a saucepan.
Add the oysters, cover and simmer for 2 minutes until they start to open. Turn down the heat
With a slotted spoon, remove the oyster shells from the pan.
carefully remove the whole oysters from their shells and pour the juices back into the pan.
Simmer the liquid further while melting some butter in a frying pan (for the fish).

In a deep serving dish, mix the cooked rice and instant couscous grains then pour enough of the
liquid over them to cover with an extra half inch of liquid on top. Leave this to stand, while the
couscous expands, lightly stirring once or twice.
Pan fry the lemon sole fillets in the melted butter for 2 minutes, then add enough of the liquid to cover
and poach for 1 minute.
Transfer the cooked fillets onto serving plates, pour the remaining liquid into the pan (with any fishy bits left in)
and boil vigourously, stirring until reduced to a few tablespoons of viscous yummy concentrated fishy cider sauce.

To dish up, line 6 oysters up on a piece of fish on each plate, pour the sauce over the oysters,
spoon some couscous rice next to it. Serve with a mixed salad.

I tried this out today and it was lovely, the cider sauce is rich but the oysters are succulent and plain couscous rice complements well.
Cooking time: about half an hour,

If you were wondering, I bought the oysters, sole and a 2litre flagon of Westons cider from Morrisons for about £12 total.

Somerset Sausages

This is a recipe I made up; it was inspired by a meal we had at Simonsbath, on the river Barle, Exmoor.

3 pork sausages per person, must be proper sausages
1 medium sized onion per person, sliced into segments - not chopped too fine
1 medium-large apple per person, eating apples not Bramley, cored and segmented, skin left on
Dry cider

Slowly cook the sausages in a dry saucepan (add a little sunflower or other bland oil if necessary) until the fat is running out of them.
Fry the onions in the sausage fat. Garlic is optional. Add cider as required to stop sticking, stirring frequently. Add segmented and cored but not peeled apples. You can add a dash of Worcestershire, Soy or Teriyaki sauce to taste.

Serve with mashed potatoes, accompany with cider.

NB Exactly the same recipe can be done using pork chops or similar, but you might need to add a little more vegetable oil.

Note the subtle lack of precise cooking times... I am more of the Keith Floyd than Delia Smith school. But this is a really good sound meal. The onions caramelise nicely and the apple segments should soften but remain whole. Must be well flavoured dessert apple such as Cox or Russet or something similar. Best cider is a slightly sparkling bottle-fermented one (what we do with most of our cider - bottle at around 1.003 so it gets a nice little fizzle).

Pheasant with Cream and Cider

I found this recipe but have not tried it yet. I'd probably try leaving out the cream and butter, but then it wouldn't be 'pheasant with cream and cider' --Andy 10:56, 20 Sep 2005 (BST)

(serves two people)

  • One dressed pheasant
  • One tablespoon of oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Half a chopped onion
  • Three medium size dessert apples
  • Six fl oz dry cider (170ml)
  • Five fl oz double cream (150ml)
  • Salt and black pepper

In a metal casserole heat the oil and butter. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper. Fry the pheasant in the hot oil and butter turning it frequently until it browns evenly all over. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Peel, core and slice the apples and add to the casserole. Now add the cider, lay the pheasant on its side and cover the casserole. Cook over a very low heat for an hour plus until tender, remembering to turn the bird over half way through.

Remove the bird from the casserole and place on a warmed serving dish. Simmer the apples and onions remaining until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the cream, season if required with salt and pepper and heat gently until warm. Pour over the pheasant and serve.

Rabbit/Venison with Cider and Apricots

I got the recipe from the butcher in Chelmondiston, for venison, although his was rather simpler 'try cooking it in cider with dried apricots'. This recipe (which I haven't tried (I have now, it's very good!)) is for rabbit but is pretty much what I did with the venison.

  • 1 Rabbit Jointed
  • 15g lard
  • 150g lean green bacon -diced
  • 3-4 tbsp flour
  • 0.5 - 0.75 ltr cider
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 100g dried apricots soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard (I didn't use this).

Brown bacon and rabbit in the lard, stir in the flour and cook until golden. Reduce heat and gradually add enough cider to cover, add bouquet garni and season to taste. Cook for ~1 hour (or until tender). Add the apricots and cook for another 15 mins, add a little more cider if the liquid dries up.

Discard the bouquet garni, make up mustard with some of the cooking liquid and stir in.

Mackerel Baked with Apples and Cider

I found this in an old recipe book of my grandmother's yesterday. There's nothing fancy about it but I tried it tonight and it was yummy! I used some Normandy cider from the supermarket which gave a bit of sweetness to the dish.

  • Fresh whole mackerel (one each)
  • Enough dry cider to come half way up the fish (about 1 or 2 wine glasses)
  • 1 large Bramley Appple,
  • Black Pepper

Wipe the mackerel with a bit of kitchen paper.Make 3 diagonal cuts in the fish. Put it in an overnproof dish with the cider and a little pepper and leave for a couple of hours. Turn the mackerel once. Set the oven to moderate hot (gas 4).Peel, core and chop the apples into smallish chunks. Push some of them into the middle of the mackerel and place the rest round. Spoon the cider over them and the fish.Cover the dish and put in the oven or 15 mins. Remove the cover and cook for another 15 mins. Lift the fish out onto a warm plate and pop in the (now switched off) oven leaving the door ajar.Pour the juices into a small pan with some of the apples. Cook fairly quickly, mashing up the soft apples, to make a sauce. Put the remaining apples round the fish and pour the sauce over. Serve with rice or potatoes. Drink the rest of the cider :-)

Chicken braised in Cider with Mushrooms and Tarragon

2 servings

I got some 2 nice free-range chicken legs and jointed them. I browned them in a little olive oil in my cast iron frying pan.Then I roughly chopped about a quarter (125 grms?)of chestnut mushrooms and added them to the pan. Fried them off a little, just enough for them to take a little colour and for the juices to start to flow. Then I added about 2 wineglasses of cider and a handfull of chopped fresh tarragon.

I let it just come to a gentle simmer, popped a lid on it and let it braise for a good 40 minutes. I checked on it every 10 minutes or so, turning the chicken and giving the pan a gentle shake.

When it was done I lifted out the chicken.I added a walnut sized bit of butter and reduced the sauce, giving it a gentle stir.

I served the chicken with the sauce poured over it, with garlic potatoes and a nice glass or two of cider :-) Yum!

Recipes on the web

For lots of Cider recipes all in one place visit Cooking with Cider including soups, starters, main courses, accompaniments and desserts

If you like Delia Smith's recipes then try Cider Braised Pork with Cream & Mushrooms or Pork Sausages Braised in Cider with Apples & Juniper

Can you read a bit of French?

If so have a look at these wonderful recipes for Mussels in Cider, Rabbit in Cider, Cider Bread, Pancakes, Jelly and more in Cider of the Country of the Hazel Trees. If not see the pictures anyway or alternatively view a rough translation.

Mulled Ciders

From postings on the ukcider mailing list around Bonfire Night 2005.

At our wassail, this is what I have done for the last 4 years or so. Take 2 pints of apple juice, fresh pressed if you have any is best but supermarket will do. Simmer in a big pan with 2 sticks of cinnamon and a halved orange stuck with 20 or so cloves. Squeeze in some orange juice. A dash of nutmeg, lump or 2 of ginger and/or star anise is optional according to taste. Don't opverdo spice. Having simmered this for say half an hour, add a gallon of strong dry cider, pretty rough stuff will do within reason. Sugar or honey to taste, should not be bnecesary if you used enough sweet apple juice. Serve LUKEWARM in stoneware mugs or pewter tankards-don't whatever you do serve it too hot or boil off the alcohol.

I find the technique of boiling your spices, fruits and sugar or honey with apple juice then adding about 3 or 4 parts cider to one of sweet apple juice given a lovely medium sweet drink of about 5% alcohol which is OK within reason to serve to older children (acompanied by their parents of course). If you want to add a jolt of Gin, Rum, Brandy or Port, but all means do so but with adequate warning, calculate your ABV and advise guests. We always serve it as above (sweet and spicy and around 5% ABV) at our wassails and it is always well received. If you add the flavourings to the (hard) cider and boil, you will drive off the alcohol which takes you to the opposite extreme. Boiling the spices with the sweet apple juice then adding the dry cider works well for us, even in chaotic party in the dark circumstances. Precise recipe is variable, but if in doubt, stick to clove-stuck oranges and cinnamon, you won't go wrong. Oh ys and we do tend to serve it though a seive to avoid undue lumps.


We normally make mulled cider in 6 gallon batches in a Burco boiler.

  • One or two large oranges,
  • one large lemon (both cut up),
  • a thumb-sized piece of root ginger (sliced up),
  • three sticks of cinnamon,
  • 24 cloves
  • half teaspoonful of allspice

are added to the cider and the whole lot heated with the lid on the vessel until it is about the temperature of a cup of tea. Nutmeg is not recommended. Note that allspice means just that, not mixed spice. With sharp, citric ciders made from culinary fruit, you can leave out the lemon. Sugar is then added to taste (mine!) My wife Annabel makes an extraordinarily popular mulled cider marmalade by mixing the fruit and spices residue (minus the cinnamon sticks) from the above operation with some marmalade fruit.

Just a note

I added the sloes left over from sloe gin to the mulled cider for a little extra something -the colour's interesting too!

Pig cheeks in mustard and cider sauce

You don't really need the whole pig cheek for this recipe, just the trimmed, meaty cushion part.
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
30g butter
2 onions, finely diced
1 tsp thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 celery stick, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 free range pig's cheeks, trimmed
2 tbsp flour, seasoned
400ml cider
500ml chicken stock
1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 2 parsley stalks, 2 thyme sprigs)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp double cream
3-4 tbsp finely chopped parsley

In a large casserole over medium-low heat, warm a tablespoon of oil and the butter. Sauté the onion, thyme and a pinch of salt until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, sauté for five minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
With the heat on medium-high, warm the rest of the oil in the same pan. Dust the cheeks in seasoned flour, then brown in batches and transfer to the veg bowl. Deglaze the pan with cider, scraping up any bits, then add the stock, vegetables and meat. Season, add the bouquet garni and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook for three hours, until the meat is very tender. Lift out the meat and keep warm. Reduce the sauce to thicken slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and cream. Return the meat to the sauce, warm gently, season to taste and add parsley. Serve with mash and wilted greens. Serves six.