Sunday, December 21, 2008

Simple Pork Chops

Sat 13 Dec 2008

Last Saturday, after our visit to Leventhorpe Vineyard, we drove home via the Methley Bridge Farm Shop, hoping to pick up something for supper. We ended up leaving with two fat pork chops.

My last Simple Supper proved very popular, so here's another recipe in the same vein. Don't forget - if you like a recipe, stumble it!

Although this recipe is very quick and simple you end up with something that looks more than presentable, so you can serve this to guests, even in non-emergency situations.

Pork can be tricky to deal with - people often complain about it being dry and tough. Partly the problem is modern pork: it's bred a little too lean and butchers often strip off a lot of the fat. Personally, I think pork fat is delicious but if you don't like it - cook with it on, cut it off on your plate!

When cooking pork chops I find it best to muck around with the meat itself as little as possible.

Heat some butter and oil in a pan and get it good and hot. Lightly season your chops and, once the pan is hot, add the chops ... AND DON'T TOUCH THEM. As soon as they go into the hot pan the meat will start to catch and if you start prodding at them and trying to move them around it will tear and you'll have opened up a world of pain. The meat will seal in the hot pan and you'll know when this has happened because you'll be able to move the chops around easily. They'll have picked up a lovely colour on their underside and, keeping the pan hot, you can turn them over and repeat the process.

When the pork is almost cooked (personally, I think people overcook pork, but I leave the degree of doneness required to you!) take it out of the pan, put it on a plate, cover with tin foil and rest in a warm oven (the oven might be on for roasting potatoes ... you never know).

Now, to your pan, which should have all sorts of lovely porky goodness in its base, add a generous glug of something alcoholic - we had some Amontillado Sherry lying around so that's what we used, but you could easily substitute Brandy, a dry Sherry, Madeira or Marsala. Even, at a pinch, white wine.

As the alcohol bubbles away, make sure you give the pan a good scrape to incorporate all the porky bits in your sauce. Add some single cream and a generous teaspoon of grainy mustard. When that's incorporated, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (in our case, more mustard went in, followed shortly afterwards by more cream).

Serve your chops on hot plates, topped with this sauce. We paired the chops with steamed carrots and brussel sprouts and roast potatoes.

With the creamy, mustardy sauce I think you are better off pairing this with a lighter red wine. Something Italian springs to mind, as Italian reds tend to have reasonable levels of acidity that will cut through the cream and they're usually not too aggressively fruit forward. I'm thinking Chianti - but don't forget many good Australian Sangioveses can be found, particularly from McLaren Vale.

I feel like I haven't posted anything sweet for a while, so to rectify that, next up will be a lemon syrup cake. If want to know when that's posted - subscribe to our RSS feed or emails!
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