I grew up in the 80’s, a kid of 2 working parents and consequently a lot of indifferent, frozen food featured heavily in my upbringing. Not everything was frozen though, on Pork Chop night things were freshly cooked, the chop dipped in egg-wash, then bright orange Ruskoline breadcrumbs and shallow fried, served with apple sauce from a jar, tinned peas and bland boiled potatoes. I’m shuddering at the memory even now; given all the wonderful things you can do with pork, I can’t understand why anyone would’ve chosen that.
So, now I’m a parent I’m avoiding the horrors of my youth and instead doing pork chop night thus:
Pork chops, thick cut and preferably from a rare breed like Saddleback or Old Spot – 1 per person, I get mine from Ballencreiff pigs or the Gosford Bothy .
½ an apple per person
½ red onion per person
So stick the oven on to 180° and a griddle pan on to a high heat, score the fat on the chop (this stops it twisting the meat when it shrinks) oil the chops well with something like groundnut or rapeseed oil and season well (seriously, pork loves salt).
Cut the apple into 1cm dice and toss in a little oil then stick on a tray in the now hot oven.
Dice the potato and boil in well salted water and then wait a few minutes.
Grill the chops for a couple of minutes and then turn 90° in the griddle pan and grill for another couple of minutes to give you a nice cross hatched pattern, turn over to cook the other side.
While that’s cooking, dice the red onion.
The potato should be cooked, drain it and let it steam dry in a colander, take the pork out of the griddle and put in the oven, beside the apple.
In the pan you cooked the potato, dump a lot of butter and start softening the onion, after a few minutes add the apple and cook gently to let the flavours infuse – you should have a lot of melted butter in the pan at this point, if not then add more butter.
Now would be a good time to check the pork (probably 12 minutes or so since it went into the oven), press it to see how it yields – it should be tender but not too spongy, if you’re happy with it then remove from oven and leave to rest, if not back into the oven...
So, once the pork is out and resting, return the potato to the pan with the apple and onion and stir well to mix and work the melted butter in, it’ll break up a bit but that’s not a problem. Check for seasoning.
Now, serve a big spoonful of the potato with the chop and whatever steamed green veg you have to hand (seems to go very well with broccoli) to some happy campers.