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Pork chops with hazelnut and sage

Pork and pear is a classic pairing that tastes even better when the flavours combine in a one-pan dish.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus brining, chilling
  • Serves 4
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You don't have to brine pork chops, but when you do it seasons the meat more deeply and helps them retain moisture throughout cooking. Try this dish with a pear and frisée salad dressed with mustard and red wine vinegar on the side. Begin this recipe a day ahead to brine the pork.

Ingredients

  • 2 large pork cutlets (about 2cm thick), fat cap and skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 corella pears, cut into wedges
  • 50 gm butter
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) sage
  • 25 gm roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Pear and frisée salad (optional), to serve
Brine
  • 325 gm coarse sea salt
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs

Method

  • 1
    For brine, combine salt, sugar and 800ml water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat, add peppercorns, thyme and 900ml water. Cool, then refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
  • 2
    Score skin of pork cutlets at 3cm intervals, place cutlets in a non-reactive container with brine and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, place in two snap-lock bags, fill with brine and seal well before refrigerating.) Drain (discard brine), pat dry and refrigerate uncovered to dry out (1 hour).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 200°C. Place a sheet of baking paper in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add oil and pork, skin-side down, and cook, rotating to colour all the skin, until skin starts to crackle (2-3 minutes). Remove paper, then turn pork and cook, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side). Add pear wedges to pan, then transfer pan to oven and roast until pork is cooked to your liking (10-12 minutes for medium-well). Transfer pork and pear to a plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 5 minutes.
  • 4
    Tip pan juices into a heatproof bowl, then add butter to pan and swirl over high heat until nut-brown (2-3 minutes). Add sage and hazelnuts and cook, tossing occasionally, until sage is crisp (1-2 minutes). Return reserved pan juices to pan and stir to combine. Spoon sauce over pork and pear wedges and serve with salad.

Notes

Drink suggestion: rustic farmhouse cider. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.

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  • Author: Lisa Featherby