Pork Chops with Bramley Apple and Rosemary Confit
Now that my straggler leeks are history and the sprouting broccoli is one the verge of sprouting but not quite there, my thoughts have turned to another piece of history, namely our apple storer (right). In 2003 our very ancient Bramley apple tree – and two more adolescent trees – produced a bumper crop, so much so we couldn’t even give them away! Everyone in our church brought their surplus apples to Mass on Sunday and there were too many for even the entire parish to consume. So we decided to invest in an apple storer. We had seen one in a mail–order catalogue (the kind you get two or three copies of but have never got anything in stock). And guess what? The entrepreneurial British at their best – no apple storers available in September when the apples are ready, only in January. Don’t you just love it! Come January it duly arrived, after the last of our newspaper-wrapped apples had shrivelled and died. Of course (need you ask) the following September, there was not a single apple to be stored as grandma Bramley and her two adopted siblings decided to have a rest that year (or it could have been the frost). There is a happy ending however, because last year the apples were back and enough stored to see us through the winter. Which brings me to the current question: what next to use them for? Two recipes have been forthcoming: a Bramley Apple and Almond Trifle – watch this space – and today’s recipe for Pork Chops with Bramley Apple and Rosemary Confit. Posh chefs don’t much care for Bramleys because they tend to smash up and not always look the part. But I love their uniquely English acidic flavour and, although a little unusual, pairing them with rosemary is very good indeed.
|2 good-sized (bone-in) pork chops|
|1 medium Bramley apple|
|1 smallish onion, halved and sliced|
|8 fl oz (200 ml) dry cider (I used Aspall)|
|1 tablespoon cider vinegar|
|1 level dessertspoon light muscovado sugar|
|1 dessertspoon rosemary leaves|
|salt and freshly milled black pepper|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400F (200C).|
|Need help with conversions?|
|There is no list of equipment specified for this recipe.|
The confit comes first: wash the apple, then quarter, core and slice it into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices, leaving the skin on (we think leaving the skin on adds flavour).
Now place them in a medium-sized saucepan, and simply add half the sliced onion, half the cider and all of the vinegar and sugar. The rosemary leaves should be crushed on a flat surface with the back of a spoon to release their oil, then chop the leaves finely before adding them to the saucepan.
Then on to the heat, and as soon as the cider begins to bubble, give everything a good stir and turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer. Leave it to cook slowly without a lid for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the liquid has reduced down to nothing but a faint stickiness.T
he pork chops need to be placed in a small roasting pan sitting on top of the other half of the onion. Season with salt and freshly milled pepper, then bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
After that place the roasting pan (with the chops still in it) over direct heat, pour in the rest of the cider and let it bubble and reduce by about half. Serve the chops with the warm confit piled on top; we had ours with mashed potato and some lovely tenderstem broccoli from M&S. Speaking of M&S, have you tried their Braeburn apples from Kent? Crisp, sweet English dessert apples in March – brilliant!
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