Pork chops are one of my husband's and my favourite pieces of meat, so I tend to put them on the menu every few weeks. Tonight I served them with a wet polenta, cooked with chicken stock and Parmesan. For a veg, I made steamed tenderstem broccoli with some crunchy, lemony breadcrumbs. T-bone chops are one of the 'forgotten cuts' which tend to be less expensive than say, a loin chop but they're at least as tasty and stay really moist and tender during cooking.
The free range pork available here is so fantastic that I tend not to do much beyond basic seasoning before I cook them but they are also lovely with a couple of fresh sage leaves pressed into each side.
T-bone Pork Chops With Crackling And Wet Polenta
serves 4, takes 40 mins
4 free range T-bone pork chops about 2cm (3/4")thick
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
200g (7oz) yellow polenta
1 litre (2.1 pints) free range chicken stock
a small handful freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp sea salt
How simple are those ingredients?!:-)
Whack your oven up to 200C (400F)
If you look at the chop laying flat on your cutting board, you can see that between the skin (rind) and the meat itself, there's a layer of fat attached to each. Using a sharp knife, separate the skin from the chop in between these two layers. Score the skin about 2mm (1/8") down and put these pieces of skin fat side down in a small baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with the sea salt and pop them into the oven.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a heavy-based, medium-sized saucepan, then sprinkle the polenta in to the pot in a steady stream, all the while stirring briskly with a balloon whisk.
Continue to stir for a minute, until the mixture is quite thick and smooth then turn the heat to low and allow to cook (splut. splut.) for another 15-20 minutes. Taste test this mixture to make sure that the seasoning is spot-on, adding a little sea salt if necessary. Make sure that the polenta is completely soft, then stir in the grated parm and remove from the heat.
While the polenta is simmering, sprinkle the chops with a little sea salt and black pepper and brush with a little olive oil. Bring a large oven proof frying pan or skillet to a nice high heat and carefully place the chops onto the hot surface. Leave alone for 3-4 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom, then turn over and pop in the oven for a further 7 minutes. Remove the chops from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving on a mound of the soft polenta and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the top.
Your skin pieces should be nice and blistered and brittle-crunchy by now, but if it's not, just pop it under a hot grill for a minute to crisp them up, then serve them on top of the chops.
If you'd like to try the lemony breadcrumbs I topped the broccoli with, here you go:
Melt a couple of tbsp of butter in a small frying pan until foaming, then finely grate half a teaspoonful of lemon zest into the butter and let that mixture reduce so that the liquid from the juice has cooked out. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the butter and then toss in a couple handfuls of dried coarse bread crumbs. Fry for a minute until all the butter has been absorbed by the crumbs and they've gone a lovely golden brown. Sprinkle away!