Roast Pork Sandwiches & Roasted Apple and Cheddar Salad


Slow-Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Herbed Grape Sauce  |  Roasted Apple & Cheddar Salad

Intro Collage


Nothing creates a sense of well-being like a barely simmering braise or stew cooking quietly on the stove or in the oven.  The warm aromas wafting in the air are deeply comforting.  Dinner is cooking.  A simple and economical cut of meat is slowly altering in moist heat, gradually reaching a state of falling-off-the-bone tenderness, surrounded by a rich and tasty sauce.  I love the ease and economy of cooking this way, which involves neither the ostentation of an expensive roast nor the flash-in-the-pan excitement of a last-minute sauté.  Once assembled, a stew or braise cooks in a single pot, largely unwatched.  It can be made ahead and reheated the next day, without a worry, and it will be even tastier.”  ~  Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

Despite all of the visual signs of an approaching autumn…early harvest apples, miniature pumpkins, plums…summer temperatures have finally arrived here in Northern California.  The heat we longed for in the summer months arrives now, just as the children return to their classrooms and magazines nudge us towards eating spiced cakes and drinking hot apple cider while clad in cable knit sweaters and L.L.Bean boots.  Maybe I am easy prey for advertisers or, perhaps, I adjust to the changing seasons in the same way as the barn animals whose seasonal coats change not based on temperature but with the changes in daylight patterns.  Whatever the reason, I cannot hide my growing anticipation for fall as evidenced by this dinner.

Inspired by a recipe for Roast Pork Sandwiches appearing in the “September” chapter of Nigel Slater’s, The Kitchen Diaries, I heavily adapted his recipe to account for the heat of the afternoon and our accompanying salad.  Rather than turning on the oven for 1+ hours {making our kitchen unbearably hot}, I decided to slow-roast an inexpensive pork shoulder in the slow-cooker…


Seasoned simply with salt and pepper…


And then browned on all sides in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop…


The roast was then placed on a waiting bed of seasoned onions and herbs in the slow cooker…


Shortly after taking the above photo, I decided to switch out the rosemary and bay leaves {called for in Mr. Slater’s recipe} for a hefty bunch of thyme…the underlying herb in both the accompanying sauce for this evening’s sandwiches as well as our salad.


And, just as Alice Waters so aptly described in the excerpted passage at the beginning of this post, the scent of roasting pork and onions filled the house for the rest of the day without heating up the kitchen and with no additional effort from me.  Come dinner time, all that was left to do was toast some soft rolls and assemble the sandwiches topping with baby arugula and some of this amazing Herbed Grape Sauce leftover from our dinner Tuesday evening…

Sandwich Collage

Slow-Roasted Pork Sandwiches {heavily adapted from Nigel Slater’s, The Kitchen Diaries}  Serves 6

  • 3 pounds, boneless pork shoulder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pushed through a garlic press
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • A splash of dry white wine
  • Bitter salad leaves {I used baby arugula}
  • Soft Rolls for 6
  • Herbed Grape Sauce
  1. Generously season the pork all over with salt and pepper.  In a large, deep skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking.  Add the pork to the skillet and brown the meat on all sides.  Remove the meet to a platter and set aside.
  2. Using the same skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan drippings and heat for a minute.  Add the onion slices and cook over moderately high heat until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and stir it into the onions.
  3. Add the thyme sprigs, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper as well as the lemon juice to the pan and give it a good stir.  Remove the onion mixture {and all accompanying pan juices} to a waiting slow-cooker, spreading the mixture evenly on the bottom of the cooker.  Place the pork, together with any accumulated drippings, on top of the onion mixture and add the splash of wine.  Cover and cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 6 hours.
  4. Wash the salad leaves and slice the rolls in half.  Remove the meat from the cooker and let it rest for a few minutes.  Gently pull the meat into serving portions or thinly slice.  Divide the salad among the rolls and pile the meat onto the leaves.  Top with some of the seasoned onions from the cooker and a spoonful of Herbed Grape Sauce.

Pork and apples are a natural combination.  In this salad, apples {we used a locally grown Jonathan variety which is sweet and in season only until mid October} are roasted with a few sprigs of thyme to intensify their flavor and then paired with a sharp cheddar cheese and walnuts.  This is a wonderful fall salad.



Roasted Apple & Cheddar Salad {slightly adapted from Eating Well}  Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • A pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 large apples or 3-4 small {preferably a red sweet variety} cut into wedges
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 3 cups torn Boston lettuce
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. To prepare dressing: Whisk vinegar, apple juice, 1 tablespoon oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. To roast apples and prepare salad: Toss apples with 2 teaspoons oil and thyme in a medium bowl; spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once or twice, until the apples are soft and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard fresh thyme. Let cool.
  4. While the apples are roasting, toast walnuts in a small baking pan until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Just before serving, divide the spinach among individual plates, drizzle with dressing and top with cheese, roasted apples and walnuts. Serve immediately.

Our dinner plate this evening…



K Initial

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