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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
  • Serves 4
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus brining, chilling
Pork chops with hazelnut and sage

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