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Recipe: Pan-to-oven Pork chops with garlic

Ingredients

4 Loin pork chops
1 very large, or 2 normal, whole heads of garlic
A little olive oil
200ml white wine or strong cider
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Release all the cloves from the garlic bulb(s) but do not peel them, as the skin will protect the flesh from burning. Instead, crush them lightly with the blade of a knife. Place in an ovenproof dish, big enough to hold the chops, in the oven as you heat it to 220C/gas mark 7.

Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and add all the garlic cloves. Fry for just a minute, then on the other, seasoning them with salt and pepper as they brown. Remove from the pan with tongs and arrange in the preheated dish, with the fatty, bony end bits poking up into the air.

The idea is that these bits will get crisp as the meaty ends braise in the pan juices. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan with a slotted spoon and scatter them over the chops. Now return the pan to the heat and deglaze with the wine or cider, allowing it to bubble and reduce by half. Tip the contents of the pan over the chops, season well and return the dish to the oven. Roast the chops for 15-20 minutes, basting them with the pan juices half way through cooking, if you like.

When they are done, the meat of the chops should be cooked through and the thinner, fattier ends lovely and crisp. The garlic cloves though perhaps a little blackened on the outside, should be sweet and tender in the middle, and the pan juices make an excellent gravy. Variations The pan-to-oven method is particularly neat and successful way of cooking all chops - lamb and veal, as well as pork.

Whatever herbs or flavourings you use (and you can marinate the chops first if you like), add a little wine pr stock as they go into the oven and the resulting juices can always be rustled up into a simple sauce. A couple of specific suggestions: Veal with lemon and capers: Marinate the veal chops with pared lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, thyme and a little olive oil for a couple of hours.

Then add a wine glass of water and the juice of 1/2 lemon as the chops go into the oven. Use the juices to make a simple sauce, adding a few capers and finishing with a little cream. Lamb with garlic and anchovies: Using lamb chops, proceed exactly as for the pork chops above, but add 3 or 4 anchovies with the garlic and pan juices when the chops go in the oven.

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