Fried Pork Chops in Cider with Hasselback Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts
When I have a day to myself, I enjoy a spot of leisurely food shopping and try to innovate, compiling a dish that is new to me and that can be enjoyed à deux as our evening meal. Yesterday was such an occasion and amongst the meat offerings in my local retailer the pork chops, which I seldom cook, looked like the most appetising option. I vaguely recalled that my mum, who is a very good cook and is still going strong, used to cook pork chops in cider (we did live in Somerset) and so I thought I'd use that as my inspiration. My green vegetables of choice were sprouts, because I'm partial to them and think they are underrated and, I've no idea where the notion came from, I decided to partner those with Hasselback potatoes. Unbeknown to me, prior to on-line research, Hasselbacks are of Swedish origin and were (allegedly) born out of Restaurant Lilla Hasselbacken in Stockholm. They are easy to prepare, an interesting variation on a theme and, most importantly, taste great.
Ingredients: (Serves 2)
Thick-cut pork chops x 2. (Approximately 450g in total).
1 bottle of cider x 500ml.
Medium sized potatoes x 5.
Peeled and prepared sprouts x 500g. (That's an abundance but I like sprouts).
Garlic x 2 cloves, peeled and chopped.
Thyme x 2 to 3 sprigs.
Salt and pepper.
Heat a fan oven to 180 degrees C. or regular oven to 200 degrees C.
Wash and trim the potatoes and cut any larger ones in half lengthways.
Cut vertical slices into the potatoes in 3 to 4 millimeter 'bands' leaving a half centimeter 'bed' at the bottom.
Dress the potatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove then from the oven, put chopped garlic, thyme and more oil inside the slices and over the potatoes, to taste, and put them back in the oven for a further 30 minutes.
Add 2 to 3cm depth of water to the washed sprouts and have them on stand-by in a lidded saucepan.
Fry the pork chops in the rapeseed oil on a high heat, it cooks at a hotter temperature than olive oil, being sure to brown the rind nicely. Then turn down the heat and add half the cider to deglaze the pan and let the chops simmer gently in it for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Now steam the spouts for about 5 minutes, so they retain some bite, and drain them.
Serve the chops with the Hasselback potatoes, sprouts and cider gravy on warm plates.
Wine-wise I'd opt for a robust, life-affirming red wine such as this month's Cairanne: Domaine Les Eschaffins Rouge 2016.