Chops are very British fare. When you're watching a BBC costume drama you invariably see the hero rushing off to the "Chop House" to indulge in a juicy bit of meat washed down with a pint of ale. (Chop houses were hugely popular establishments all over London in 18th/19th century). I washed my chop down with a hearty glass of pinot last night and that worked a treat.
I have to confess I have not had a happy experience in the past with pork chops. I memorably cooked some boneless chops a few years ago and they were an unmitigated disaster - at least for me - but not for the dog. I overcooked them to such a degree that they were dead weights - almost rock like. I fed them to the dog, who seemed remarkably pleased. I was later told that one shouldn't feed pork to a dog - it's bad for them. I was told that about chocolate too, but my little Jack Russell devoured a large foil wrapped Easter egg at the age of 2 months and was as happy as a clam. So why would I worry about a piece of pork?
You can understand my trepidation last night as I approached these beautiful looking cuts of meat. Was I going to wreak havoc again? Happily these turned out a treat. They did require a sharp knife to cut them but they still retained their juiciness and the flavor was simply lovely. The family was happy, the dog went without.
Bone in Pork chops (fat trimmed)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of salt
a couple of healthy shakes of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds (I was going to grind mine but didn't because my spice grinder broke and I was too lazy to pound them)
A splash of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup (or so) chicken stock
To prepare the chops, trim the fat and mix together the cumin, paprika, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the chops and let sit for about a half hour.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan until really hot and foaming.
Press a sage leaf on each of the chops and place them in the pan. Don't overcrowd, you will probably have to do this in two batches otherwise they will steam and not brown beautifully.
Cook, without moving them for about 4 minutes. Lift one up to make sure it's golden, if it is turn it over, turn down the heat a little, partially cover the pan and continue cooking for about another 4 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of your chop. DON'T overcook!! Keep checking and spooning the melted butter over the chops as they cook.
Add the stock and wine to the pan, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Scrap up all the bits in the pan.
Add another tablespoon of butter to the sauce and swirl gently until it dissolves.
Pour the sauce over the chops. Garnish with more sage.