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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jamie's 30 Minute Meals #17: Pork Chops & Crispy Crackling
This is our 17th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. For this one we chose "Pork Chops & Crispy Crackling, Crushed Potatoes, Minty Cabbage, and Peaches 'N' Custard." We picked it mostly because we had a lot of cabbage already, and it seemed like a good wintry dish. It was also pretty simple, which was good because I was cooking this one BY MYSELF. As we did last week, we adopted a "rally car" method where this time I cooked while the Snook read out the recipe, timed things, and took photos. Once again, it worked really well!

Pork Chops & Crispy Crackling

Substitutions: Our pork chops were a fair bit bigger than the ones he used. We couldn't get "Maris Piper" potatoes, but we googled them and settled on Desiree as an acceptable substitute. We had plain cabbage instead of Savoy. Everything else was as-written!

Quick verdict: This was a simple, hearty winter meal without anything too fancy. The method for cooking the chops worked well, but the crackling was a disappointment. He doesn't have you salt it at all(!), so it wasn't as tasty as it should've been. The potatoes and cabbage were both good without being too much work. The dessert was another of his "quick assembly" recipes, and while custard and fruit are always good, it's not exactly something you'd make to impress. Overall we both rated it 8 out of 10. You probably wouldn't do this one for a dinner party, but it's good enough for a cold Tuesday night. My final time was 33:17, so it's another fast one too! Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.
 
Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The oven was turned to 180C and the kettle was boiled. We had a big roasting tray and frypan for the chops, a saucepan for the cabbage, and a small saucepan for the peaches.

First up are the ingredients for the pork: pork chops (skin on), garlic, fennel seeds, sage, and honey.

Pork chop ingredients

Next the smashed potatoes: potatoes, half a lemon, wholegrain mustard, and parsley.

Potato ingredients

The cabbage is very simple: just cabbage and mint sauce. (We used some of the Snook's homemade mint sauce.)

Cabbage ingredients

And the bits for the dessert: tinned peaches, cinnamon stick, custard, shortbread, and mint (which we didn't bother with).

Dessert ingredients

Pots and pans, ready to go! The big frypan and the roasting pan are for the pork. The big saucepan is for the cabbage, and the small one is for the peaches.

Pots and pans

Here we go! I started by trimming the skin and some of the fat off each of the pork chops to make the crackling. (This wasn't easy, and I may have lost a few minutes here due to my inexperienced knife skills.)

Trimming the chops

Then I cut the strips into quarters to make thinner crackling. (Note: We both think we'd leave it thicker next time.)

Slicing the skin

The skin went into the hot frypan, fat side down.

Skin into frypan

Now for the potatoes. I gave them a wash and picked off any gnarly bits.

Cleaning potatoes

I cut them all in half, then placed them in a bowl with half a lemon, salt, and pepper. A double layer of clingfilm went on top and then they went into the microwave.

Potatoes

Back to the chops. I scored the fat on the back of each one, then seasoned with salt and pepper.

Seasoning the chops

The crackling was getting pretty crispy, so I flipped the pieces over. I also added 8 unpeeled, squashed cloves of garlic.

Garlic and crackling

Next I transferred the garlic and crackling to the roasting pan with some fennel seeds and put it in the oven. I then put the chops in the frypan, standing them on edge to render the remaining fat.

Rendering chops

While the chops were cooking, I prepped the cabbage by removing the core and outer leaves, then cutting it into wedges. These went into the saucepan with boiling water to cook.

Starting the cabbage

Once the fat on the chops was golden, I laid them down flat to brown up on each side for a few minutes.

Cooking the chops

Next I took the roasting tray out of the oven. The garlic was smelling nice.

Garlic and crackling

The pork chops went into the tray, along with some fresh sage. I tossed everything together to coat.

Adding sage and tossing

Then the whole thing gets drizzled with honey and put back in the oven to finish.

Drizzling honey

The dessert didn't require much cooking. I dumped the peaches into the small saucepan with a cinnamon stick and let it cook.

Peaches

By now the potatoes were cooked, so I added wholegrain mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bowl.

Cooked potatoes

Chopped parsley was added, and then I "smashed" everything up as best I could. The potatoes were finished!

Finished potatoes

The cabbage was now tender, so I took it off the heat and drained it.

Draining cabbage

The peaches were still simmering away...

Cooking peaches

To finish the cabbage, I added mint sauce, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Adding mint sauce and seasoning

After a quick toss, the cabbage was finished!

Finished cabbage

At this point, I would like to draw your attention to the benchtop. "Some chefs," I said pointedly to the Snook, "like to work CLEAN."

A tidy chef is a productive chef

As soon as the oven timer went off, I pulled the finished pork chops out. They looked pretty good!

Finished pork chops

The finished meal of pork chops with crackling and garlic, minty cabbage, and smashed potatoes.

Finished meal

To finish the dessert, I poured custard into a bowl and topped it with the cooked peaches. Then I crumbled some shortbread on top.

Finished dessert

Tasting notes: I had high hopes for the crackling but was disappointed. It was just hard, chewy little shards without much flavour. I really think it needs to be salted before it's cooked. Rodd said, "I think the crackling method he described is not very effective." The pork chops were cooked well. We both liked the veg, and Rodd thought that the flavours all worked nicely together. Dessert was a little boring, but hey, it's hard to go too wrong with fruit and custard. As I said before, this is a decent 8/10 weekday meal but probably not something fancy enough for a date or a dinner party. At only 33 minutes preparation time though, it's certainly one of the quicker and easier recipes we've tried!

Stay tuned for another recipe from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals!

 
Comments
 
It is a myth that you need to add salt to make good crackling. It has taken me 30 years of cooking to discover the secret. If you have really good pork it will crackle easily but for the vast majority of supermarket pork you have to make sure it is completely dry, then score it very deeply with a blade (no more than 7-8mm between cuts). I only buy outdoor bred pork so not sure if it works with battery pigs.
» John Liam » 2013-09-15 03:59:54
 
I'm definitely trying this one out for New Year's Day! I love the way the cracklings look.
» Archie » 2013-12-31 14:13:12
 
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