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How to cook pork chops

As with any meat or fish, selecting high quality, free-range pork chops is always going to give you the tastiest result, and look out for specialist breeds such as Tamworth or Saddleback for something really special. Choose a bone-in chop – this will help prevent the pork from drying out, which is a common problem with pork chops. Cooking on the bone in will also infuse the chop with more delicious porky flavour. You’ll often find paltry 1cm thin chops in supermarkets – avoid these, and don’t settle for anything less than 1 inch thick chops – centre-cut is best.

If you have the time, a quick brine ensures a juicy, tender chop with even seasoning throughout. This is a great choice as this cut is notoriously easy to dry out. Half an hour will do the trick, but feel free to leave them brining for a couple of hours. You can also add aromats at this stage if you’re looking for a particular flavour. For example, a traditional garlic, thyme and black peppercorn works well, or you could spice things up with an Asian-inspired star anise, ginger and lemongrass brine.

1
Place all the brine ingredients in a pan and gently heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
2
Place the chops in the chilled brine and place in the fridge for 2 hours
3
Remove the chops from the brine, pat dry then leave at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking
4
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and place an ovenproof skillet or chargrill pan over a high heat
5
Rub olive oil onto both sides of the chop (and heavily season with salt and pepper if you didn’t brine the meat)
6
Once the pan is starting to smoke, place the chops in the pan. Leave to sizzle untouched for around 3 minutes, then flip over and colour on the other side for 2–3 minutes. Using tongs, stand the chops on their fatty edges until nicely golden
7
Place the skillet in the preheated oven for 5–8 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops
8
Remove from the oven and cover with a tent of foil. Leave to rest for 3–4 minutes before serving

What to serve with pork chops

Apple is the most classic porky pairing, and for good reason. The sweet sharpness of a Bramley apple cuts through the fat wonderfully. Sandwich your pork chop in between a soft white bun with lashings of apple sauce and caramelised onions for the ultimate pork burger. Marcus Waring barbecues his pork chops for a smoky finish, glazes in homemade barbecue sauce and serves with a silky smooth apple purée.

Adam Gray takes inspiration from a traditional roast in his Saddleback pork chop with black pudding dish, including all the trimmings of roast potatoes, carrots and gravy. For a comforting wintry dish, serve your chop on a bed of buttery mash with a creamy mushroom sauce. For something more colourful, push the boat out with Robert Ortiz’s pork, prune and red cabbage dish.

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