Food & Nutrition

Cook With Cider To Make Healthy Tasty Meals

Photography: William and Susan Brinson

Everybody knows you can cook with wine and beer. But there’s another beverage that will add a tasty little twist to your meals: cider, which adds an earthy sweetness to a brine or broth to create flavourful pork, fish and chilli dishes without adding tons of carbs or fat. It won’t give you a buzz, since the alcohol burns off – but then, so will the fat from your abs.

Poached Halibut And Stewed Tomatoes

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 170g halibut or other white-flesh fish fillets
  • 350ml cider
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 25-30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼tsp black pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil, sliced


  1. Place the halibut, onion, thyme, salt and 250ml of the cider in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the fish. Bring to a slight simmer with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook for ten minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Adjust the heat as required during cooking to maintain the slight simmer.
  2. Place a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the tomatoes, shallots, garlic and fennel seeds and heat for one minute. Pour in the rest of the cider, add a couple pinches of salt and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in black pepper.
  3. Serve the halibut topped with the tomato-cider mixture and scattered with the basil.

Nutrition (per serving) 359 calories, 37g protein, 16g carbs, 11g fat

Turkey Chilli

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • ½tsp salt
  • 450g turkey mince
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3tbsp tomato purée
  • 2tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1tsp chilli powder (chipotle if you can find it)
  • 350ml cider
  • 2 400g cans diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if you can find them)
  • 2 400g cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion, carrots and salt and cook for five minutes.
  2. Add the turkey mince and garlic and cook for four minutes.
  3. Add the tomato purée, oregano, cumin, chilli powder and salt and heat for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cider and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for five minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, beans and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.

Nutrition (per serving) 407 calories, 39g protein, 52g carbs, 6g fat

Brined Pork With Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 590ml cider
  • 450g pork tenderloin
  • Black pepper
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2tsp fresh thyme
  • ¼tsp cinnamon
  • ¼tsp chilli powder
  • 2tbsp chopped chives


  1. Boil 350ml water. Place the sugar and salt in a container large enough for the pork to lie flat, and add the boiling water. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then pour in 350ml cider. Place the pork in the container, seal shut and marinate in the fridge for at least six hours or preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry with paper towel. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment, and season with black ­pepper. Roast until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 65°C, about 20 ­minutes. Remove from the oven, rest for five minutes, then slice.
  3. Place the cubed sweet potatoes and garlic in a saucepan with the rest of the cider and a little salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring a few times. Uncover, raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cider has evaporated and the potatoes are tender, for ten minutes. Mash with the butter, thyme, cinnamon and chilli powder.

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