Nothing gives Diana Leblanc greater joy than to bake and cook for others. Her blog 365 Days of Easy Recipes was originally created as a way for her to share her recipes with friends and family, but over the years has become her passion.
Focusing on easy recipes for busy families using wholesome ingredients, Diana also shares her tips for meal planning and freezer meals. When Diana is not found in the kitchen, you can find her taking road trips with her family, crossing items off her bucket list, or on the couch watching movies.
Nothing beats a hot bowl of stew to warm you from the inside out after a fun day in the snow with the family.
It’s been a time-honoured tradition for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to when I was a child. Some winter days are blustery and cold, but when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds and the snow glistens in the sunlight, the toboggans and crazy carpets come out of hiding.
Even as a child, I would get bundled up in my winter wear and find the steepest, fastest hill to go sliding down the white fluffy snow. Sometimes using the paths created before me, other times forging new trails with my sleek red toboggan. Those were some great memories. But the memories don’t end there.
My brother and I exhausted ourselves from climbing the hill more times than we could count. When our homemade wool mittens were dripping wet from the snow and our hair was plastered to our heads from exertion, our parents would pack us back up in the vehicle to bring us home.
What followed felt like a feast: while dad was finding us dry socks, mom served up cups of hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course) and piping hot bowls of stew. Our faces rosy from the cold, snow pants, jackets and mittens lying in a soggy pile just inside the entrance, and our family happily sitting around the table devouring my mother’s stew.
That tradition has carried on to my kids. We don’t go to the same hill I went to as a child, and the toboggans have evolved into more aerodynamic contraptions that actually allow you to steer out of the path of oncoming trees and bushes. But the laughter and shrieks of delight that echo from the sledding hill certainly have not changed.
And that delicious hot pot of stew my mother used to serve to warm us up after a beautiful winter day of sliding? Yup, that hasn’t changed either.
Pork Stew with Root Vegetables and Apple Cider
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 lb pork shoulder, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 bay leafs
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 1 1/2 cup apple cider (or apple juice)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1. Heat your oven to 350 °F. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the meat in batches. Transfer the meat to a separate bowl.
2. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and add in the onions, celery, carrots and parsnips with the bay leaves and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes until tender.
3. Add in the minced garlic. Stir for one more minute. Add the flour to the pan and stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Return the browned meat and any juices back into the Dutch oven.
4. Pour in the apple cider (or apple juice) and chicken stock so that the meat and vegetables are covered. Bring everything back up to a simmer before transferring to your preheated oven. Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
5. Remove the lid from your Dutch oven and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the pork is fork tender. Serve on top of mashed potatoes.