If you have recently purchased our new T&G Staples Box, when it arrives and once you've got over the initial delight of what is inside, it is quite possible that you will undergo some reflection, pause or consideration. Next, as you stare downwards, you will no doubt experience some sort of internal monologue, as a host of ideas begin to spring forth and flood your synapses.
'OK, so bacon and bangers, that's breakfast sorted. With the mince, we can rustle up a midweek Spag Bol. Lamb T-bones dressed up with some cupboard spices, dried fruit and cous cous and dried fruit will lend a sense of adventure to Friday night. Whole Herb Fed chicken means Sunday roast is definitely on the cards. And with the pork chops, we can...well, we can grill them. Or something...'
However, if you do find the conversation with yourself beginning to flat-line towards the end, do not panic. There is a lot to take in here.
Furthermore, if it's the pork chops in particular that are stupefying you so (for they are indeed glorious cuts), you will be pleased to hear that we also have this great suggestion from Richard H. Turner for you.
Cider-Brined Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce.
Found in his book concerning all things porcine - HOG - this recipe uses a process that many of you will be familiar with.
But if you are not, here is the lowdown from the man himself:
'Brining not only seasons meat, but due to some scientific wizardry makes for a juicier end result. Moisture loss of up to 30 per cent of the raw weight occurs normally during the cooking of the meat, because heat causes raw, individual coiled proteins in the fibres to unwind, then join together with one another. But bringing can reduce that by half, enhancing juiciness in several ways. First, raw meat absorbs liquid during the brining period, increasing weight by 6-8 per cent. Second, brining causes some proteins in the muscle fibres to dissolve, from solid to liquid, Lastly, the salt in the brine causes some of the proteins in muscle to unwind and swell. As they unwind, the bonds that hold the proteins together break. Water from the brine then binds directly to and between these proteins when the meat cooks. Some of this would happen anyway during cooking, but the brine unwinds more proteins and exposes more bonding sites. Are you with me? As I said, scientific wizardry.'
We're just glad that this recipe calls for cider, which is much needed in these curious times. Cheers!
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cider with the sea salt until the salt has dissolved. Pour this brine into a large plastic tub, add the pork chops, then seal and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- In a small saucepan, combine the mustard with the sugar, cider vinegar, pork broth (or chicken stock), Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened - about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Grill over a heat until the pork is nicely browned - about 5 minutes each side. Reduce the heat to moderate or, if using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side and transfer the pork chops so that they're opposite the coals. Continue cooking the chops until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chops registers 60°C - about 10 minutes. Let the chops rest for 10 or more minutes.
- Strain the warm mustard sauce over the cornichons and serve with the chops.