Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops With a Gooseberry and Sage Sauce

Image of gooseberry and sage sauce in a bowl

Everything’s running late in the garden this year after the cold, wet spring and the gooseberries are nowhere near ripe yet.

But I had a couple of bags lurking in the freezer and they inspired this dish. The sauce comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and can be found via the Guardian online, along with a couple of other good goosegog recipes.

It’s a really interesting combination. When I was growing up we always had apple sauce and sage and onion with our roast pork.

This mixes up the two ideas but uses gooseberries instead of apples.  It’s tart/sweet and herby. The dried sage rubbed on the chops reinforces the flavour without being overpowering.

Image of sage leaves and chopped sage

Having said that, I do have one word of warning – sage plants vary in strength. I use to have one which was so strongly flavoured it bordered on the medicinal. If you’re in any doubt about the strength of the sage you’re using, go easy on it. You can always add more but you can’t take it out!

Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops With a Gooseberry and Sage Sauce

  • Servings: 2 with enough sauce for 4
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Image of sugared gooseberries in a pan


2 free-range pork loin steaks or pork chops

2 teaspoons of dried sage

400g fresh or frozen gooseberries, topped and tailed

1 tablespoon of fresh sage, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of sugar


Salt and pepper

Image of pork steaks rubbed with sage


If you’re keeping the fat on the chops, slice through the rind at intervals to stop them curling up when they cook.

Rub a little dried sage into the chops on both sides and season well with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Do check the dried sage smells good before you use it – it’s vile if it’s past its sell-by – use finely chopped fresh sage instead.

Put the gooseberries in a pan with the sugar. Add a tablespoon of water if they’re fresh. You won’t need any water if they’re frozen, in fact you may have to pour some juice off before you start.

Simmer the fruit and sugar for 10-15 minutes until you have a thick pulpy sauce. Add the finely chopped fresh sage  and taste for balance. You can add more sugar but try to keep it fairly tart. I think it’s best served tepid.

Image of pork chops on the griddle

Heat a grill or lightly oiled griddle pan until hot and cook the chops for about five minutes a side until cooked through but juicy. They’d be terrific barbecued, too.

Good with new potatoes and lightly-cooked sweetheart cabbage tossed with a few caraway seeds.

Image of finished dish

5 thoughts on “Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops With a Gooseberry and Sage Sauce

      • My late Dad used to pair grilled mackerel with gooseberries. They usually arrive at the same time here. An awesome combination.

      • It’s hard to beat fresh mackerel straight out of the sea. I remember eating them grilled on the beach in Co Kerry. Unforgettable.

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