It was 6:15 p.m. last Wednesday when I found myself in the middle of a one-woman cooking competition of my own making.
Okay, I didn’t actually have any competitors, so in this imaginary scenario, it was more like I had already won and was just showing off.Due to a shipping complication, I didn’t expect my HelloFresh delivery to arrive until the next day. I defrosted some pork, looked up a recipe with the search terms “maple” and ”apples,” got the gist of it, and prepared to put my own spin on it and eyeball the measurements, like I usually do.
For a slightly frantic but very fun 35 minutes, I prepared the meals side-by-side.
I noticed a lot of similarities in the ingredient list: mustard, apples, vinegar, garlic, and quickly learned what ingredients go well with pork for my own future reference — and picked up a tip on always cooking the apples first to give them time to soften.
The two dishes, while both utilizing similar ingredients and a common pork base, could not have been more different.
The apple slaw with the dill and parsley had a bitter flavor, a stark contrast to the pork, which ultimately, cooked entirely in its own juices, had a smoky, oily, delicious flavor that the pretzel bun and the mustard complemented nicely.
The sauce for the sticky maple pork with apples was definitely on point, but, as it turns out, the real clincher was that I had used “pork for pork stew” instead of chopped pork loin, which made it tough as heck and almost impossible to eat — although my boyfriend happily packed it away for the next day’s lunch, declaring, “awesome!”
Want to try them? Here’s how to do it.
Pretzel Bun Bratwursts with Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
I would advise going to a good, ideally German, butcher shop. Talk to the butcher about what kind of wurst you want, size, spices, flavoring, meats, casings, and what cooking methods, poaching, baking, grilling, you want to use,” he said. “The local butcher, or the butcher at the supermarket, is a great resource when it comes to selecting different meats and different cuts. — Chef Nate Appel, HelloFresh
Sticky Maple Pork and Apples