The Weekly Cook Up – Braised pork chops with apple and cabbage
Apple, cabbage and pork are all best friends and so I thought, why not put them together in a braise?
The result? Clean, beautiful flavours and an all-round comforting meal. It’s easy to eat – therefore making it an ideal dish for a house full of sick people. I’m the only one feeling 100% – everyone else is carrying a head-cold and terrible cough. So, I wanted to cook up something that would sooth their throats and warm their tummies without anything too overwhelming – like the usual punchy spices you normally find in my comfort food.
I worked in my brother’s shop last weekend and the cabbages all looked gorgeously inspiring on display – so much so that I really wanted to make them a feature of a recipe. I had some pork loin chops in the freezer which needed using up – and I had been pondering for a while what to do with them. As I was staking the apples gently on the shelf, I knew the three would be a tasty match. It’s nice for me to have this knowledge of what flavours work – it really makes me confident to experiment and create my own dishes.
The apples give sweetness, mellowed by the cabbage, onions and leek – the chicken stock adds depth and the vinegar and red current jelly add a really nice complexity to the flavours.
The delicate flavours would probably something you could put in front of your children – but because I am without little tackers myself, I haven’t road-tested it on any.
It also freezes well – so I made sure there was enough to make a meal for my dad. My dad doesn’t cook, so I make meals and freeze them for him so he doesn’t have to rely on expensive take-away and horrid pre-made supermarket food. Hopefully this makes me a nice daughter 🙂
BRAISED PORK WITH APPLE AND CABBAGE
- 2 tbs of butter
- 1 tbs of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely shopped
- 1 leek, cut down the middle, wash and finely slice into half moons
- 5 tbs of white vinegar
- 4 tbs of red current jelly
- 6 large pork loin chops
- 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- 1/2 a tsp of dried fennel (or you can use fresh, if you have it)
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
- Half a chinese cabbage, remove the tough white bits and chop across, from top to bottom, discarding the tough, white bit at the bottom
- 1 large granny smith apple (or 2 small) peeled, cored and cut into segments
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
In a large, heavy-based casserole dish (which has a lid and is able to be used both in the oven and on a stove) heat the butter and oil gently over a medium flame. Add the onion and a few good pinches of salt and sweat for 2 minutes.
Add the leek, vinegar and red current jelly and cook for a further 4 minutes, until it’s nice and soft – but don’t let it gain any colour.
Lay out your pork chops on a chopping board or plate and season both sides with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
In a frying pan, over a medium to high heat, add some more olive oil and fry the chops in batches to brown them. Make sure the fat layer is on, and turn them on their side to brown up the fat. This is critical as this process enhances the flavour of the pork.
Once done, pop them into the casserole dish with the onion and leek mixture.
Add the stock, cabbage, fennel and potatoes to the casserole and stir. Poke the pork until it’s all mostly covered in the stock (feel free to add a little more, if the tide looks a little bit low).
Bring it to the boil on top of the stove. Once boiling gently, pop on the casserole lid and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the apple segments and check the sauce for seasoning – adjust to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook for a further 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chops are tender and the apple and potatoes are cooked through.
To plate up, I used shallow bowls as the liquid is really soupy. I removed the fat strip from the pork and discarded it, along with the bone, and cut the meat into strips. Ladel the sauce, making sure everyone (this serves 4) get some apple, cabbage and potato. I then topped the soup broth with the pork meat and some sauted brocollini.
The reason I have started writing this column is because I am hoping to inspire busy people like you to set some time aside in the kitchen on the weekend to prepare at least one meal ahead for the week. I hope this recipe has helped you on your way to a much more relaxed weekday meal. Even if you decide not to freeze it for later in the week – it’d make a fabulous Sunday dinner, which is what this was for me.
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