Him Outdoors remarked the other day that the tagline on this blog is “A Suffolk Aga Saga” and maybe I should be reflecting that a bit more in my recipes.
So this dish is made with hand-reared Suffolk pork from our friends Karon and Simon and Chatburn Farm apple juice made by another friend, Jamie. Thanks chaps. Let’s have a rousing cheer for all small-scale local producers.
Having said that you can make this with any good-quality free-range pork. I know it’s more expensive but to my mind buying intensively farmed pork is like buying eggs from battery hens.
The other key ingredient is a dry apple juice or cider. I used a Bramley apple juice which is refreshingly tart and cuts through any fattiness in the pork.
The astute reader will notice this bears more than a passing resemblance to a dish usually known as Normandy Pork.
I don’t think our French friends have a monopoly on pork, apples and cream so I stand by my title.
Regardless of nationality, this makes a quick, easy and very tasty midweek supper, perfect for autumn.
Suffolk Pork Chops with Apple Juice
2 pork chops or pork steaks, rind removed, seasoned on each side with salt and freshly-ground black pepper
About 4 oz of button or chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced
One large onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
1-2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
About 1/2 pint of dry apple juice or dry cider, plus a little stock or water
A good slug of double cream (about 2 fl oz)
A good glug of olive or rapeseed oil
A heaped tspn of Dijon or wholegrain mustard
A small handful of chopped parsley
Slice the onions and mushrooms and chop the garlic.
Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based pan and quickly brown the chops on both sides. Remove and keep warm.
Slice the mushrooms and fry them briefly in the remaining oil. Remove and set aside with the chops.
Fry the onion until soft and golden – you may need to add a little more oil as the mushrooms lap it up.
Add the chopped garlic and fry for one minute more.
Put the chops and mushrooms back in the pan, add the apple juice and enough water or chicken or veg stock (a cube is fine) to come to just below the top of the chops.
Season, bring to a simmer, plonk a lid on and cook gently until the chops are tender, turning them occasionally.
The timings rather depend on how thick your chops are and much exercise your free-range pigs have had. More running around equals more flavour but a longer cooking time. Try them after 20 minutes.
When the chops are done, remove them from the pan and keep warm.
Stir in the mustard, increase the heat and reduce the sauce at a fast bubble, lid off, stirring, until it has thickened.
Reduce the heat, add the cream and cook gently until the sauce reaches your desired thickness, just a few minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, stir in a handful of chopped parsley, put the chops back in to warm through and serve.
Lovely with creamy mashed potato and lightly steamed (but not squeaky) leeks or French beans.