Turning a dullard into a diva: a pork chop transformed

Pork chops; not very exciting are they? Now, a lamb chop, even when it is simply grilled is a thing of beauty already but then throw in some feta, lemon and thyme and, well, it is completely wonderful. It helps that you don’t have to cook lamb all the way through whereas pork chops are not something I particularly want to eat rare. And whereas lamb chops make me think of holidays in Greece and the much-lamented and missed Ta Dilina in N19, pork chops make me think of unimaginative dinners, at home and at school. So I was intrigued by Simon Hopkinson‘s rather Alpine transformation of this very uninspiring cut.

First, he cooks the chops in a frying pan with olive oil, then braises them in a little white wine before finally tipping a paste of cream, cheese, mustard, soft green peppercorns and sage over the top and grilling the lot until bubbling. With a plate of very plain steamed potatoes and broccoli (another sauce would be a waste and a clash) this is bloody lovely, and really easy and fast. What’s more, I was interrupted by a) an unexpected visitor and b) a phone call when I was halfway through eating it and although I am no fan of either cold chops or once-melted-now-cold cheese I went back and finished it; yes, it was still delicious. I could be converted to making this again…

Pork chops with wine, mustard and cheese (adapted from The Good Cook)

For two people you will need:

Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive oil, a couple of teaspoons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dijon mustard, a couple of teaspoons

Shopping list
pork chops, 2
dry white wine, 100ml
Gruyère or Emmenthal, 40g
soft green peppercorns, a couple of teaspoons
double cream, 60ml
sage leaves, about 5
vegetables, to serve

How to
1. Season the pork chops then heat the olive oil in a grill-friendly frying pan and fry the chops until golden on both sides.
2. Pour in the wine, lower the heat and leave the chops to cook for about ten minutes in total, so that the wine reduces and there is no pink meat left. Turn them once or twice. Preheat the grill about five minutes into the cooking time.
3. Drain and rinse the peppercorns, grate the cheese, tear up the sage leaves and then mix them with the double cream and mustard in a bowl.
4. When the pork is cooked through and the wine reduced by half, tip the cheese-cream paste over the top of the meat then put them under the grill.
5. Grill the chops until the cheese bubbles (not very long) then remove the pan from the grill, put the pork onto plates and then put the frying pan back on the hob for a minute or so just to mix the the cheesy-winey sauce together properly. Tip over the pork and serve with some plain steamed vegetables (potatoes and broccoli in my case).

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