Corsican pork chops - Cotelettes de porc Corse
Slow-cooking is the key to this delicious pork chop dish that appears in Nicolas Stromboni's evocative 'Corsica: The Recipes' (Smith Street Books, 2016). Overnight in the simmering oven of an Aga does the job or, alternatively, 8 hours at around 80 degrees C. in a conventional cooker. This allows the scored fat of the pork chop to caramelise without drying out the lean loin meat – the only thing worse than over-cooked pork is under-cooked pork. It's a simple dish which is largely prepared in advance - something of a bonus, in my mind.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
4 good-sized pork chops
3 tablespoons panela (or demerara) sugar
Glass of orange juice
Small jar of passata
3 tablespoons honey
4 mashed anchovies
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Splash of vinegar
Heat the panela with a few drops of water in a saucepan, gradually adding the orange juice until the whole mixture begins to brown. Add the passata, honey, anchovies, garlic and vinegar. Simmer, stirring, for half an hour until a thick paste is formed.
Season the chops, baste them with most of the paste (retaining a couple of tablespoonfuls) and place them in a heavy casserole dish. Slow cook @ 80 to 100 degrees for around 8 hours, remove from the oven and refrigerate. Bring the chops back to room temperature shortly before you want to finish the dish. Baste one side of all the chops with the remaining sauce before placing them (sauce side up) under a hot grill for 5 minutes to complete.
The flavours of the cotelettes do not need embellishment, so sides of gratin dauphinois or mash potato, a green salad or al dente broccoli florets hit the spot. Serve with a spicy, velvety red from the Granite island such as this month's Domaine Pieretti Cap Corse rouge 2021.