Sunday, 7 November 2010

Pork Chop with Apple Sauce, Baked Potato Cups and Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms

Pork and apple sauce is a very popular combination. When I decided to make a pork chop and apple sauce for dinner tonight, however, I had a little bit of a think about what I could come up with that was slightly different to accompany it. This recipe is the result and I hope that you try it out and enjoy it as much as I did.

Ingredients per Person

1 large pork chop (bone in)
2 small to medium potatoes
1 small Bramley apple, or other cooking apple
5 or 6 Shiitake mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of dried sage
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and white pepper


The potatoes will take around an hour and a quarter to bake. They should be washed, dried and skewered through the centre with a metal skewer. This helps to conduct the heat through the potato and allows them to cook more evenly. It is important also to pierce each potato a couple of times with a fork, to allow steam to escape during cooking. They should then be wrapped in aluminium foil and placed in to the oven, preheated to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

The apple sauce can be made in advance and either re-heated or served cold. Alternatively, it can be made in conjunction with the remainder of the meal. The apple should be peeled, cored and roughly chopped. It should be added to a pot with a couple of tablespoons of cold water, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a half teaspoon of sugar, or to taste. It should be put on a medium heat until the water begins to simmer and the apple breaks down. This will take approximately ten minutes and therefore can be done while the pork chop is frying.

There has been much contentious debate recently as to whether pork does indeed have to be fully cooked - like chicken - or whether it can be eaten a little bit rare, like beef. I am still of the opinion that I prefer to take no chances and continue to ensure that pork is cooked fully and well. A pork chop like this of around 1" thick will therefore take around ten minutes each side, in sunflower oil over a medium heat. The chop should be put on to cook when the potatoes have been in the oven for around an hour.

When the pork chop has been turned, the potatoes should be ready. They should be removed from the oven, carefully unwrapped and slid from the skewer. If they are cooked, they will slide off very easily. They should then be halved and a little bit sliced off each end, so as they are capable of free-standing. The majority of the insides should then be carefully scooped out of each half with a teaspoon and added to a small plate or bowl. Do not scoop out too much, or the skins will collapse. The potato flesh should then be seasoned with salt and white pepper, a little butter should be added and - if desired - some fresh herbs such as dill or coriander/cilantro can be included. These ingredients should be combined with a fork or spoon, before the mixture is carefully spooned back in to the potato shells. The potatoes can then be returned to the baking tray and the oven until the remainder of the meal is ready.

The Shiitake mushrooms can be roughly chopped but I cooked them whole. I added a little olive oil and a little butter to a small frying pan, gently heated it and put in the sliced garlic clove, pinch of sage and mushrooms. Five minutes on a moderate heat, stirring frequently with a spatula, will saute the mushrooms and the meal can then be plated and served.

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