I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to cooking I’m a bit fly by the seat of my pants. And this approach generally works out well, sprinkled with the odd, lets call it “learning experience” (aka disaster!!). I’m very different when it comes to baking because I believe there is an actual science to quantity of ingredients and how they are combined.
Anyway, back to cooking. There are occasions when one of the most challenging task of the day can be the evening meal. Coming up with new ideas and when you find something that works for the whole family, you don’t want to put them off your new invention by cooking it every week!
Anyhow, I was recently in my butcher’s shop and spotted thickly cut pork chops and thought, they look great, if only I knew of a way to cook them where by they didn’t taste like a pair of old sandals. By the way, I’ve never eaten sandals, old or new! So I bought them and I’m happy to say that this ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ dinner worked out really well and was a huge hit with all the family! I served them with potato loaves which is something that my mother used to cook for us as kids. Recently I discovered that this is a recipe that my grandmother Kathleen (my Dad’s Mum) passed on to my Mum. They are delicious, very easy to make and a great use of mash potato :O)
I was cooking for 4, so increase the quantities of ingredients if you are cooking for a larger family.
- 4 thickly cut pork chops
- 1 large apple peeled and sliced thinly (I used a Brambly cooking apple but an eating apple works well too)
- 1 medium sized onion sliced thinly
- A generous sprig of rosemary
- Some freshly ground black pepper
Pre heat the oven to 150c/300f/gas 2. This is a very low oven but the key is to cook the chops slowly over a long period of time so they become very tender.
Prep the apple and onion by peeling and slicing thinly. Trim any excess fat from the chops and sear them in a hot frying pan making sure that you get the residual fatty edges crispy. I did this by using a tongs and holding the chop fatty side down in the pan.
Transfer the chops to an oven proof dish, preferably one with a lid, if you don’t have one with a lid, don’t worry, covering the dish with tin foil will work too. De-glaze the pan with a little water removing all the bit from the bottom and set aside for later.
Layer the sliced onion on top of each chop, then do the same with the sliced apple. Apply a generous crack of black pepper. Add the sprig of rosemary and finally pour the juices from the de-glazed pan over the lot. Cover with a lid (or foil) and cook in the preheated oven for at least 2 hours.
As mentioned above, this recipe has been passed down through the generations. They are delicious and go with just about anything.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 4 large potatoes
- 1 to 2 large shallots finely chopped
- 25g/1 oz butter
- Approximately 150/200 milk
- Salt and black pepper for seasoning
At this stage the chops should be cooking for over an hour. The plan is to get the potatoes into the oven just as the chops are coming out. You will need to cook the potato loaves at about 190 c/375 f/gas 5 for 15 to 20 minutes. So if you are a one oven household, turn the oven up to the appropriate temperature for the potatoes, 5 minutes before the chops are due to come out of the oven. If you have two ovens just preheat the second oven to the temperature stated above.
Peel and cut each potato into about eight pieces. Make sure they are not too small as you don’t want them to disintegrate on you. Place in a steamer and cook until a fork passes through them easily.
Mash the potatoes using a potato mash or my preference a potato press, which can be bought very reasonably in Ikea and is an invaluable piece of kitchen equipment. Add half of the butter and about 75 mls of the milk, stir in with a wooden spoon or spatula. The key is not to have the potato too runny but firm enough to form little haystack shapes. I hope all of you know what a haystack looks like!! Add more milk and butter and mix well, season to taste. Finally add the chopped shallots, I like a nice oniony taste so I tend to use a little more than the one shallot.
Next lightly grease an oven sheet/tray with vegetable oil and placing a good dollop of mash on the baking tray mould into a haystack shape with a fork. Do this till all the mash is used up and place a knob of butter on each loaf.Remove the chops from the oven and set aside while the potatoes are cooking. This will give the meat a chance to rest before serving. Although in the picture the lid has been removed from the dish, this is just for demonstration purposes. Ensure the lid is kept on in order to keep the chops warm.Place the potato loaves in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the outside becomes lovely and crispy and golden.
Serve with the pork chops and vegetables of your choice. I used broccoli and french beans as they are the favourites in our house. This dish is quick to prepare and can be forgotten about while you get on with the homework!! Enjoy :O)