Sunday, 22 February 2009

Baked pork chops with caramelised apples

Don't let me catch you grilling pork chops or I'll have you raped by a herd of gay rhinos! Grilling pork chops makes them go rock hard and crap. Cook them in the oven or on the frying pan, please!

A good quality chop is the most important thing for this recipe - that means going to the butcher's instead of the supermarket! The quality is so much better - you want a nice marbled chop with plenty of fat, which will melt and tenderise the meat while it cooks. This recipe will take no more than half an hour. My brother and I used to eat this on Sundays when I lived in Chelmsford - oh the memories!

  • 4 pork chops on the bone
  • 2 Braeburn apples
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • A knob of butter
  • About 2 tbsps muscovado sugar
  • 250ml cider (preferably dry)
  • Mustard mash, to serve


  1. Get the chops out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes before you want to start cooking so that they can adjust to room temperature. Heat the oven to 210 degrees.
  2. Smash and peel the garlic cloves, then peel the onions and slice them into fairly thin half-moon shapes.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut into the rind of each pork chop. Place them on top of the mound of garlic and onion and season with freshly ground black pepper and rock salt, making sure you get plenty of rock salt stuffed into the incisions you made (this will help to make the fat go crispy). Put a thyme sprig on each pork chop, drizzle them with olive oil, pour the cider into the bottom of the tray and put it in the oven; after 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 180 degrees and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes until done (use a rack if necessary to avoid submerging the pork chops!).
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and add the butter. Chop the apples into slices and core them (but don't bother peeling them). Sprinkle them liberally with muscovado sugar on both sides and fry for about 5 minutes per side until they turn golden brown.
  5. When the pork chops are done, put them on a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes. Put the tray on the hob, discard the garlic cloves and herbs, and turn the heat up high. Scrape the tin to deglaze it and add a little water which you reserved from the mashed potatoes (yes I did tell you to do this, you just don't remember! :P). When the juices have reduced and the flavour is suitably concentrated, transfer the contents of the pan to a jug.
  6. Serve the pork chops with the onions, mustard mash, and whatever seasonal vegetables you like, with the onion gravy on the side!

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