Pork chops are notoriously difficult to get right, but that’s often because the meat isn’t that great to start with. My advice? Have these as a treat; ditch the supermarket in favour of a butcher and buy the best meat you can afford. There will be plenty of fat very important for the tastiest flavour, and you can cut it off on your plate if you want and the meat will be sweet.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 thick, good-quality pork chops
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- knob of unsalted butter
- 1 apple, unpeeled, cored, and thinly sliced 160 ml (5½ fl oz) cider
- 7 fl oz (200 ml) chicken stock, plus extra if needed
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 2 tbsp cornflour, whisked with 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Take the pork chops out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking them, to bring to room temperature.
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan to the highest possible heat; it needs to be screaming hot, to get a crust on the chops.
- Dry the pork with kitchen paper and rub salt and pepper all over them, paying extra attention to the fat. Then fry the pork for 2 minutes on each side, turning them with tongs.
- Now reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside, covered, on a warm plate while you make the sauce.
- Melt the butter in the same pan in which you fried the pork and fry the apple for a couple of minutes until softened. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper.
- Still using the same pan (don’t clean it, the juices are vital!), place over a medium heat, pour in the cider and let it simmer as you scrape up the crispy brown bits on the pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes, or until the cider has reduced by half.
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then boil until it, too, has reduced by half.
- Reduce the heat, add the cream and mustard, and stir gently. Stir in the cornflour mixture and simmer for 20 seconds, stirring. If the sauce is too thick, just add a little more stock.
- Serve the chops with the apple on top and the sauce drizzled over. (This isn’t supposed to be a thick gravy, but a light sauce.) Buttery Carrots with Parsley are good with this, as is mustard (if you like), and mashed potato.