Apple & Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Casserole
A few months ago, I made a very big mistake. A really, really big mistake. I was sort of in the mood for watching a few episodes of The Gilmore Girls, so I popped a disc in the DVD player…
I swear, the thing swallowed me whole, instantly. I’ve just been caught up in their universe since. Stars Hollow has become my second residence, or almost. It seems like I want to do nothing but watch a new episode or two, night after night after night.
There were even nights when I considered sneaking in parts of an episode during hockey intermissions! And if you know just how sacred hockey night is to me, then you know that I’m in deep… real deep. The Gilmore Girls has become my little nightly escape.
Funny thing is, I’m not even that kind of person, at all. I don’t’ watch much TV to start with, and I most certainly don’t do series.
But there’s something about The Gilmore Girls that drags me right in. When my daughter introduced me to them years ago, I remember falling in love instantly, much to her astonishment, and wanting to watch a second and third episode right away even if it was the middle of the night.
The thing is, she’d almost begged me to PLEASE watch ONE episode with her and if I didn’t like it (which she was almost certain I wouldn’t), we could stop watching it halfway, but she wanted me to at least give them a chance because she thought our mother / daughter relationship was so similar to Lorelai and Rory’s, she wanted to share / discuss that with me.
For the record though, unlike them, we do not feed exclusively off coffee and donuts and candy and pop tarts and still look amazingly fit and glowingly beautiful. In fact, I get slightly irritated by that fact every now and then. Witches with a B, that’s what they are.
Pffft! That’s TV for ya: unrealistic seller of dreams. I think that’s why I don’t care much for it.
But dream or not, this thing now has me hooked. And it also managed to get me badly wanting, needing me a Luke Danes…
Or maybe a Christopher? Or would Jason Stiles possibly be more my style?
Nah, I think not. I’m positively, definitely a Luke Danes kinda chick!
Alright, enough about The Gilmore Girls now. Let’s talk about this delicious casserole, shall we?
After I made this amazing Pork Roulade with Candied Butternut Squash & Ginger Chutney the other day, I had quite a nice chunk of pork loin and half a butternut squash left, so I had to figure out what to do with them. At first, I thought I would just go with simple pork chops and roasted squash, but then I had this very inspiring vision.
I thought of combining pulled pork with some sort of a casserole, incorporating sweet apple notes and spicy seasonal aromas. Oh, the dream! I could almost taste it. My mind has a very vivid imagination, sometimes.
This was seriously delicious, my friends. It IS somewhat sweet, I have to warn you. So much so, it almost feels like you’re eating dessert. Kind of. The subtle tones of salted butter (don’t ask me where those come from) and the very omnipresent strands of pork constantly remind you that it’s in fact a savory dish you’re enjoying. But if you are a fan of sweet and savory, you are in for a MAJOR treat, I guarantee you.
The whole time I was eating this, I was dreaming of eating pie. Maybe I oughta create some kind of a pie version of this, with sweet potatoes perhaps, and a real creamy, velvety sauce.
Bet it would be a huge hit on Thanksgiving, or maybe even Christmas! Or any other chilly autumn night, for that matter.
Or even morning, why not?
Cook the meat until it’s tender enough to be broken down into tasty little morsels.
Add the butternut squash, apples and raisins right on top…
Followed with the cooking liquid…
Return to the oven for an other long while. Be patient, I swear it’ll pay off!
And there you have it. Look at how gorgeous that is! Oh, how I wish you could smell it, and taste it too.
Unfortunately, the only way for you to do that is to make your own batch. Or invite yourself for dinner!
Apple & Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Casserole
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 lb pork loin (or boneless butt or shoulder)
- ¾ cup sweet apple cider, or unsweetened apple juice
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large red apples, diced
- ½ medium butternut squash, diced (about 500g or 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 cup sweet apple cider, or unsweetened apple juice
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp Himalayan or fine sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
- Place the onions, pork roast, sweet apple cider and fresh rosemary in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, place the lid on and cook in a 325°F oven for about 3 hours, or until meat is tender.
- Remove rosemary and, using 2 forks break the meat into small pieces and / or strands.
- Add the butternut squash, apples and raisins right on top.
- In a separate container, mix all the ingredients for the cooking liquid and pour that right over the dish. Put the lid back on and return to the oven for an additional 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking for 30 minutes more.
- If you want the top to take a bit of a golden coloration, drizzle a little bit of melted coconut oil all over the casserole after it's done baking and set it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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51 Comments on “Apple & Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Casserole”
I wish I could smell it and taste it too! That looks incredible. Definitely a dutch oven recipe I need to try and a perfect mix of fall/winter tastes.
Thank you much, Laura, that is very kind of you to say! I hope you do enjoy this dish if you ever get to try it! 🙂
The Gilmore Girls? Really?
Woman, you must start watching Breaking Bad.
Now that’s a TV show worth being hooked on.
In all honesty, there is no way I would be able to watch a full episode of the Gilmore Girls, not even if you would serve me a portion of that awesome pulled pork casserole.
Well, if I’d get to eat the whole thing and have a glass of red wine with it MAYBE I could watch it although I would probably fall asleep halfway through! 😉
C’mon man, I’m sure we can work something out. What if I threw in a Banana Bacon Nut Butter Chocolate Cup to savor with your wine? That oughta keep you awake. And I’ll play one of the juiciest episodes, too, one that’s nicely filled with scandal and gossip but that also has a fairly good dose of romance. No kissing though, I promise!
Oh, and I’ll even agree to watching an episode of your Breaking Bad thing in return, how’s that.
Do we have ourselves a deal? 😉
Well, I have to think about this…I mean, watching a full episode the Gilmore Girls is like a lot to take in. I’m not sure I can live up to my end of the bargain!
Uh oh… I’m afraid we’re gonna have to call off the wedding, man. This just won’t work out, I’m afraid.
Unless… I’ve only got 2 more seasons to go, which means that I should be done by the end of the year. If you’re willing to wait that long, then maybe we can save this! 😉
I just found this recipe looking for fall dinners with pork and I thought I’d look through the comments, and I know I guess I’m technically eavesdropping, but Breaking Bad is pretty fantastic. It’s kind of intense sometimes, but watching that series was like reading a book where all the plot pieces just clicked into place and create this beautiful variegated strand that leaves you so satisfied after the finale. I watched the ending and wouldn’t have changed a thing.
HAHAHA! You’re funny Jennifer! Comments are there to be read, you weren’t “eavesdropping” at all! 😀
So I guess you’re with clan Mike, then. Down with The Gilmore Girls, let’s get Breaking Bad on. Well… I might very well have to give it a go! 😉
Oh my goodness gracious, I am all over this casserole! Me and squash have a bond like no other, and the addition of apples and pulled pork is out of this world genius! Excuse me while I pick my mouth up off the floor. This sounds so yummy!
HAHAHA! Thank you so much for this, Taylor, you made my day! I hope you like it just as much if you ever get to taste it! 🙂
This looks great! I wonder if it could be adapted to cook in the slow cooker.
I’ve never used a slow cooker before, Kerry, but I’ve been told that any recipe slow cooked in a Dutch oven can also be done in a slow cooker. And quite frankly, I really wouldn’t see why not!
This looks perfect. And the raisins! You are a genius.
Can I use chicken stock instead of apple cider?
Absolutely! The flavor won’t be quite the same, but it will most certainly work! 🙂
Your recipe caught my eye while meal planning, but your love for Gilmore Girls has me hooked! I too am a Luke Danes kinda girl:)
HA! In my arms sister! This world needs more Luke Danes, I say! Think there’s a paleo version somewhere? 😉
Hi – I really enjoyed this recipe! I think craisens would also be yummy!
Good to hear, Ladonna! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I greatly appreciate that!
Can I make this with salmon?
Hmmm… not sure Annie. I don’t think I would attempt it. Firstly, I don’t think the flavors would match all that well, and salmon cooks very quickly! No doubt, you’d have to adapt cooking time…
I’ve found my new comfort food!
I was a bit nervous about this recipe but it turned out absolutely delicious!
Real happy to hear, Eileen! Glad you liked the dish and thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. I sincerely appreciate that! 🙂
Loved this recipe! I used a crockpot and craisins instead of raisins, and it was delicious! Would definitely make again!
Glad to hear, Maeve! Thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know, too! I greatly appreciate that! 🙂
I made this today and it’s DEE-LITE-FULL! LOL!! The apples and raisins add a nice sweetness to the pot but not TOO sweet, and the vinegar gives it a nice twang.
Awesome! Thanks for the great feedback, I sincerely appreciate that! 🙂
This was delicious! I’ve been trying to find a great pork recipie, and this was it! My husband loved it, and even the picky kids liked it! Thank you for posting it!
Awesome!!! Glad you liked, Courtney, and thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know! You totally rock! 🙂
This was DELICIOUS! I don’t own a dutch oven so I made the entire thing on a pot on my stove on low heat the whole time. Turned out fantastic. Thank you!
Real happy to hear, Kylie, and thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know, too. I greatly appreciate that! 🙂
Hi there! I featured this recipe on my healthy fall recipe round up today. Thanks for the great inspiration! http://physicalkitchness.com/healthy-paleo-fall-recipes/
Hello! Just wondering what you recommend serving this recipe with as looks delish and can’t wait to try in my le creuset! Thank you!
To be honest, Laurelea, this is the kind of dish that I just plain eat on its own… I don’t think that it requires any kind of a side at all. But if you really must serve it with something, I would go with a very simple salad of leafy greens tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Hope this helps, and hope the dish is to your liking. 🙂
Tried this and LOVED IT!!! Thank you!! So delicious! I made it in a crock pot and it worked perfectly. I cooked the meat first on low for 6 hours, shredded it, then added the yumminess on top and let that cook for a few hours or so until soft. Hoping to get a dutch oven for Christmas, what size did you use? 😀
AWESOME! Real happy to hear, Sarah, and thank you so much for the great feedback. The Dutch Oven I used for that recipe is 5 quarts. You should definitely get one, they’re the best! I could never be without mine anymore, although I tend to use my 7 quarts oval one the most.
Great! Thank you!!
Yummy this recipe sounds delicious, Thanks for posting.
Hello! Do you slice the onions in half then take them out later? Or just dice up the onions and leave them in there? New cook/ wife over here, just trying to make sure I do this right because it looks amazing 🙂
Just slice the onions fairly thinly, they’ll practically melt as they cook. There’s definitely no need to take them out!
Could this be frozen? I’m trying to get a good collection of freezer friendly meals to help with meal planning. It sounds so delicious, so either way I’ll be making this recipe for sure!!!
I really wouldn’t see why not, Nicole. The texture might suffer a little bit, but it should still be very good! Let me know how it goes if you end up trying it!
My husband thought this was a joke recipe, and I was really nervous about this combination of ingredients….. But it works! It’s delicious!
Glad you thought so, Casey, and thanks for the great feedback! 🙂
I’ve had this pinned for ages and finally made it tonight. It was a hit, even with the two year-old! I did it in the crock pot so it would be ready when we got home from soccer. I did the first part on low for about seven hours (and added some bacon I needed to use up – just put in uncooked in the bottom of the crock pot) then shredded the meat and added the rest of the ingredients for another three hours. Delicious and the whole house smelled amazing!
YAY! So very happy to hear! Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lori, and thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know. I greatly appreciate it! 🙂
It looks delicious! I would love to see an instant pot version of this recipe. I’m not adept enough in the kitchen to figure it out myself!
I’ve never ever used an instant pot, so I’m afraid I wouldn’t be of much help either… sorry about that!
Oh my gosh, this is so good! I’m a huge fan of the sweet/savory flavor combination and this gets it just right. Definitely a new favorite recipe.
I did just a couple of things differently out of necessity. I don’t have a dutch oven so I made this in a crock pot. I cooked the meat for a few hours, shredded it, added everything else, cooked until done. Might be juicer than a dutch oven would have been but still delicious. Also, instead of the rosemary sprigs I used a teaspoon of crushed rosemary, since that’s what I had on hand. Worked out great.
Happy to hear, Tiffany! Thanks a bunch for the great feedback and stellar review! 🙂
I have been coming back to this recipe for years now. I share it with everyone, and they all agree it’s a winner. Such a perfect fall meal…it’s simmering in the oven right now and I can’t wait to dig in!