Alberto came up trumps again this Christmas with another delightful recipe book for me. It’s the Great British Bake-Off Winter Kitchen recipe book and some of the recipes in it look absolutely delicious. (I’d recommend getting hold of it if you can – it looks great and, this recipe at least is well laid out and easy to follow.) It’s an odd quirk – I really enjoy cooking but I have absolutely no interest in watching cookery programmes so I’ve never actually seen The GBBO but the book looks great.
My friend Phil was over for dinner on Monday evening so I decided to find a new recipe from the book to go for. Sage, pork and cider are a brilliant combination and very comforting on cold winter evenings so this recipe immediately caught my eye. It’s delicious and easy to do – I served it with wasabi mash and steamed spring greens.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 pork chops per person (well, the recipe says 1 per person but I upped it a little!)
2 knobs of butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 apple, Braeburn for preference, peeled and cut into wedges
A handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped (plus extra whole leaves to garnish)
150ml of medium dry cider
1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
A generous splash of double cream
Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oven to 180.
Heat the oil in aflame-proof casserole over a medium high heat. (I don’t have a flame-proof casserole so I did the first part in a frying pan and then transferred it to a casserole dish for the oven bit.)
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper then brown in the frying pan for minute or so on each side.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a knob of butter to the pan then gently fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the apple wedges and cook until they are starting to soften and colour.
Return the chops to the pan, add the chopped sage and pour over the cider.
Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and place in the oven. (In my case I brought it to the boil in the frying pan and then transferred it to the casserole dish.)
Cook for 15-20 minutes until the pork is just cooked.
Meanwhile melt a knob of butter in the pan and fry some whole sage leaves over a low heat until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Using a slotted spoon remove the chops and apples from the casserole and keep warm.
Either pop the casserole dish over the heat or, as I did, transfer the liquid to a frying pan, and place over a medium heat. Stir in the mustard and cream into the sauce and bubble for 2 minutes until thickened.
Spoon the sauce over the chops and garnish with the crispy-fried sage leaves.