Less than 15 minutes of prep time and plenty of fall ingredients like apples, squash and cider and you'll have a delicious Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Pork Stew that will change your life!
It may sound unusual, but this stew is packed full of delicious flavors that work well together to create a delicious dinner perfect for cozying up at home on a cold evening.
Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Pork Stew is packed full of lean pork tenderloin and lots of veggies like butternut squash and carrots plus it uses two different kinds of apples.
What you need to know about this recipe:
- It's hearty and filling and makes enough to feed 6-8 people depending on appetite.
- It can be cooked on high for 4 hours or low for 8 depending on how much time you have
- You can adjust the spice level to your preference by adjusting the amount of chipotle chili powder
- You can make ahead and freeze (see notes below) but leftovers of this recipe don't freeze well
- You'll need a 4 quart or larger slow cooker
What kind of pork do I need for this stew?
You'll need to find a pork tenderloin. These are generally sold in vacuum sealed packages and are long and thin and usually found two in a package.
This cut of pork is lean and tender and the best for making this type of stew. You may be able to substitute a pork shoulder in a pinch, but you would need to trim a lot of fat and it would be significantly more work to cut it up into bite sized pieces.
What kind of apples should I use?
Because this recipe has a lot of sweetness I recommend using at least one tart apple, like a Granny Smith, to balance it out. I used one Granny Smith apple and one honeycrisp apple.
Can I freeze pork stew?
You can prepare this recipe ahead of time and freeze before cooking, but you will need to leave the apples out. If you try to freeze them they will likely turn brown and mushy.
To freeze simply add all ingredients (chopped if called for) except apples and broth to a large zippered freezer bag and remove all air before sealing.
When ready to cook you will need to thaw overnight in the fridge and then add to slow cooker along with chopped apples and broth.
I don't recommend freezing leftovers of this recipe.
Choose your favorite fresh apple cider (a little for the stew and a nice refreshing glass to enjoy!) and add the herbs and seasonings and let it slow cook all day for your perfect crisp fall evening dinner!
How do I thicken the stew?
I prefer to thicken my stews by adding small tapioca pearls and letting them cook all day along with the rest of the ingredients. This thickens the broth without adding flavor or texture.
If you can't find tapioca pearls, my suggestion would be to whisk 2 tablespoons of flour with an equal amount of water and whisk it with the broth when adding. Cornstarch could also be used instead of flour.
Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Pork Stew
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 10 ounces frozen cubed butternut squash
- 1 honey crisp apple
- 1 granny smith apple
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons small tapioca pearls
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- Cut pork tenderloin into bite sized pieces
- Remove peel and dice apples
- Add pork, apples and all remaining ingredients to slow cooker
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
- adjust the spice level by adjusting the amount of chipotle chili powder
- if you can find tapioca pearls, you can thicken the stew by whisking 2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch with water and stirring into broth before cooking
- if making this as a freezer meal, don't add apples until ready to cook
- I recommend making only what you will eat within 2-3 days. Leftovers of this recipe do not freezer well.
- I recommend using at least one tart apple to offset the sweetness in this recipe
- I recommend using only pork tenderloin in this recipe. In a pinch you could sub pork shoulder, but it would need to be well trimmed and might not yield as good of results.