Pork Chops with a Gooseberry, Honey and Walnut Sauce

Monday 5 August 2013


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I have never made any secret of the obsession I have with everything Nigel Slater cooks.  I just find him so inspiring . . . and I never tire of watching him cook.   As I have said before many times . . . he cooks the way I cook, and he obviously eats the way I like to eat.  Unpretentious.  Simple.   Delicious.  Good quality ingredients, combined simply and very well executed.   You can't ask for more than that.

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On one of his last series he did a show based on the flavour combination of Sweet and Sour.   This is something I just love . . . sweet and sour.   I don't know anyone who doesn't.  One of the dishes he cooked was some pork chops in a simple gooseberry sauce.  He used light muscovado sugar in his . . . and some thyme, a bit of vermouth . . . and of course gooseberries and fresh pork.

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Pork is one of those meats which lends itself beautifully to the use of fruit in it's preparation.  It's succulent and rich . . . and fruit just helps to bring out all of those lovely qualities.  I had been wanting to do these pork chops since I saw Nigel doing them . . . and of course could not wait for our gooseberries to ripen in the garden, for just that purpose . . .

Today was the day.  I didn't quite have all my ducks in a row though . . . some things were missing. 

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I had the pork chops . . . nice, thick and meaty ones with a lovely layer of fat on the outside edge.  I like to clip that edge with some kitchen scissors at even intervals . . . it looks nice and helps the chops to lay flat in the pan so that they brown up evenly.   Can anything taste better than crisp pork fat, turned to a sticky golden brown ?????  Mmmm . . . think not. 

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I had the gooseberries of course, but no muscovado sugar or vermouth . . .
I did have, however . . . a lovely jar of Acacia honey that I picked up at Harrods last year  on sale and a nice big bottle of French Calvados . . . add to that some English Walnuts, lightly toasted and some fresh Marjoram . . . and we were hitting a home run, if not the ducks!

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Think Sweet and Sour, except way better . . . every mouthful brought the taste of rich pork, with crisp fat, sweet honey, cut by the tart gooseberries, herby marjoram and just a tiny crunch from the walnuts.

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In short . . . perfect.  I love it when my cooking is inspired by Nigel.   I just know it's going to come out tasting beautifully delicious!  I also love that his recipes are simple and quite easy to make your own.   I only wish he could have tasted these.  I think he would have totally approved!

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*Pork Chops with a Gooseberry, Honey and Walnut Sauce*
Serves 2

What to do when you have a handful of tart gooseberries and a few pork chops.  Inspired by something which I saw on Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers.   A marriage of sweet and sour.   I took it a bit further and added acacia honey, marjoram, a generous slug of French Calvados and a handful of toasted walnuts.  In short . . . what I had to hand.   Delicious.  

2 thick pork chops
a large handful or two of ripe gooseberries, red or green (topped and tailed)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few springs of fresh Marjoram (or dried if that's all you have)
two dessert-spoons of Acacia Honey
a small handful of toasted English Walnuts
a knob of butter

Take your pork chops and using some kitchen scissors, cut into the fatty edge at 1/2 inch intervals all along the edge  This helps to keep them from curling up.  Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt the butter in a skillet, just large enough to hold the two pork chops snugly, over medium high heat.  Once it begins to foam and sputter add the chops.  Brown nicely on the one side and then flip them over and brown on the other side.   You will want them to be pale golden brown.   Add a generous slug of French Calvados and tip in the gooseberries, letting them fall as they may.   Spoon a dessert-spoon full of honey over each chop and sprinkle with some marjoram leaves and a few toasted walnuts.   Cover and cook for about fifteen minutes, just until the pork is cooked through and the berries have collapsed somewhat and created a lovely sauce, which is at once tart, sweet, boozy and herbed.   Serve immediately with some roasted vegetables or mash.   Delicious.

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What I wouldn't give for the opportunity to cook with Nigel Slater . . . man . . . that is on my bucket list for sure.  That would be better than winning the lottery in my books . . . seriously.


  1. That looks amazing and is definately one I'm going to try! Just wanted to say thanks for following me too and adding me on your blog roll -that's really nice! Hope you're well. I've spent so long reading all your entries since yesterday too!

  2. Woman, the things you come up with. I don't think I've ever seen such a gorgeous pork chop dish in my life! I've never had gooseberries, and I tend not to like most fruits with my meat, but as usual, you could win me over! Just beautiful :)


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