“Apples have always been a major fruit crop in Somerset, and its villages are ringed by orchards, with countless local apple varietals that you don’t see anywhere else….For thousands of years Somerset locals have been getting alcohol out of apples, and that’s where cider comes in.”
Visit Somerset: History and Heritage by Ian J. Brodie
“The meanest cottage is not without an orchard.”
Anonymous, courtesy of the Museum of Somerset
Somerset pork, named for the county in Southwest England from where it originates, is a rich, hearty casserole featuring pork and two of Somerset’s best-known products: apples and cider. It is a filling meal that would have been served to fruit pickers at the end of a long day’s work. While apples and pork are a traditional combination, the addition of the cider creates a depth of flavor that encourages second helpings. Americans may recognize in the dish a similarity to smothered pork chops.
In the UK, we would use what we call “cooking apples” and which are in fact Bramley apples. Granny Smith apples are an acceptable substitute. Serve as a one-pot meal with crusty bread for sopping up the delicious sauce, or over mashed potatoes with a side of peas.