Fennel and juniper-crusted pork chops
Cold and blustery evenings call for warming dishes. Get your fix with this comforting, fragrant one-pan wonder – perfect for a Friday night dinner
Friday night dinners should be special enough to feel like a reward after a long week, but simple enough that you’re not tempted to reach for the takeaway menu. This recipe hits the mark, plus cooking everything in one pan means washing up is a cinch. To save time, prepare the pork to Step 4 and refrigerate for up to one day (bring to room temperature before cooking).
FENNEL AND JUNIPER-CRUSTED PORK CHOPS WITH NEW POTATOES
2 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
½ tbsp fennel seeds
¾ tsp juniper berries
½ tsp peppercorns
½ tsp rock salt
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
Large knob of butter
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
375g new potatoes, quartered
Sage leaves (optional)
50ml gin (I used Silent Pool)
50ml cloudy apple juice
Salt and pepper
Swiss chard, sautéed
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
2. Toast fennel seeds over a low heat for a few minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
3. Using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, grind the fennel seeds, juniper berries, peppercorns and salt to a powder. Stir in 1 tbsp of the oil.
4. Rub the chops with the spice mix, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.
5. Place a large ovenproof pan over a medium to high heat. Once hot, add the butter and the rest of the oil. Crush the garlic clove with the flat of a knife and add to the pan.
6. Add the pork and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until brown, then turn over, laying a sage leaf on each chop (if using). Add the potatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
7. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the potatoes are tender. (If the potatoes aren’t done, remove the pork and return the pan to the oven.)
8. Remove everything from the pan and keep warm. Place the pan over a high heat and tip in the gin. Allow to come to the boil, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
9. Bubble for a minute or so, then turn the heat to medium. Pour in the apple juice and simmer until reduced by half. Season to taste.
10. Place the pork, potatoes and Swiss chard on plates and spoon over the sauce.
Cook’s tip: The pork is the star of the show, so buy the best quality chops you can – it really will make a difference.