Friday night dinner
Cold and blustery evenings call for warming dishes. Get your fix with this comforting, fragrant one-pan wonder, advises Laura Paton
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
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
- Toast fennel seeds over a low heat for a few minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- 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.
- Rub the chops with the spice mix, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.