- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2" chunks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 1 1/4 cups hard apple cider, divided
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
- 3 medium Honeycrisp or Akane Jonathan apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large dice
- 2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard, for serving
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork to pot over medium-high heat and sear on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl. Repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pot. Add onion and fennel and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage, garlic, ginger, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously, about 1 minute. Add broth and 1 cup cider. Scrape bottom of pot to loosen any browned bits.
Return pork and any juices to pot, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until pork is fork-tender, about 2 hours. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into remaining 1/4 cup cider, vinegar, sage, potatoes, and apples. Bring soup back to a boil, decrease heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add bacon and liberally season with salt and pepper. Pour into 8 soup bowls and garnish with tendrils from fennel fronds and mustard.