Pork with Apples, Sage and Onions; Christmas hoopoo

I don’t really like fruit with meat.

I’ll pass on Duck  a L’Orange.

I don’t eat chutney with lamb, grilled peaches with pork chops and you will never find raisins in my beef stew.

There are two exceptions: I love lemon with just about anything, and I like apples with pork.

Actually, I was just looking for a reason to buy cider which I like and mon mari doesn’t.

Unlike in the US where cider is (or used to be) unpasteurized apple juice, cider here is an alcoholic beverage similar to beer.

Yes, I know one could find ‘hard’ cider in the US and I think that now craft ciders are becoming popular, like craft beers.

The cider I used in this dish was a fizzy, alcoholic cider. You can substitute apple juice or white wine or water.

Rather than using chicken stock in this I added a bit of stock concentrate – for flavor and salt. I didn’t want any more liquid.

Lastly, I used a Granny Smith but any apple suitable for cooking will do.

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Pork with Apples, Sage and Onions

Enjoy any leftover cider with the pork!

  • Author: Katie Zeller
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Slow Cooker


  • 2 boneless pork chops, about 1” thick, cut in half
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, chopped
  • 68 sage leaves, torn in half
  • 1 cup (8oz, 250ml) cider
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube, or equivalent in granules / jelly


  • Put onions, celery, apple, sage in the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle with tapioca and stock cube
  • Top with chops in a single layer.
  • Pour cider over.
  • Cover and cook, low heat, for 3 hours.
  • Uncover, quickly give it a stir and turn the chops.
  • Cover and cook for 3 1/2 hours.


I get as jelly-like stock concentrate in little tubs that flavor 2 cups. I use what I need and refrigerate the rest.

Keywords: pork, apples, slow cooker

I put Christmas away today.

It’s never as much fun packing it all away as it is getting it all out.

I have a lot of ornaments…. Some would say too many.

Most, if not all, have special meaning to either me or mon mari so it’s not easy culling them.

I have done a bit over the years…. Keeping 1 or 2 of a box of 6 old ones, for example. The reason I keep even those is because they were the first ones I bought for my first tree,

I was looking at one of those old ornaments today.

It had a hoopoo on it.

At the time (I was young) I thought it was a pretty, but imaginary Christmas bird…. like Santa Claus or an elf.

Now I know better….

This meandering down memory lane is why it takes my 2 days to box everything up.

But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Remembering all the wonderful times we had with those who are no longer with us.


I really wish I could have told my mother that the hoopoo is a real bird. She would have loved that!

8 thoughts on “Pork with Apples, Sage and Onions; Christmas hoopoo”

  1. I didn’t take out any of my ‘memory’ ornaments this year. I didn’t do a lot of decorating. I have a small box of glass ornaments that were my grandmother’s. She passed away in 1965 and my mother inherited them. My gran got them when she first got married so they’re at least 100 years old now. I have one of those metal display hangers for tchotchkes that I hang them on and then put it on the mantel so it doesn’t get knocked over. It takes me a couple days when I put all of those away as well. I buried my mother Christmas Eve morning many years ago so you’re right, it’s very bittersweet.

    And YES! Someone else who doesn’t particularly like fruit with their meat! Lemon, yes. Apples…not so much any fruit with pork. But we went to dinner with my uncle when I was very young. He’d ordered the menu because there were several of us and the waiters brought out this huge slab of ham for each of us and it was just smothered in an overly sweet cherry sauce. It was…absolutely horrible. I’ve not been able to eat fruit on meat since then.

    • I have 3 of my mother’s mother’s first ornaments. I have yet to find a safe place for them. They are so delicate. But I look at them every year….
      Sweet cherry sauce? On ham? I would have been scarred for life

  2. I’m with you on fruit with meat, and peaches with pork sounds particularly egregious. Chutney with lamb would be good though.

    I’ve got hoopoe envy. Fancy having one parading up and down on one’s windowsill. Fantastic!!

    • Most years we have a pair visit us in the spring. I did see the occasional in the Vendee, but more often here. We have the processionary caterpillars here and the hoopoe is their only natural predator.

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