I was accosted by my daughter urging me to make dinner ASAP as she was “going through a growth spurt” and as a result, was starving earlier in the evening than usual. It was hard to think of what to make under such pressure? When I get hungry, I am transformed into a crazed lunatic, and I think my daughter has inherited this wonderful quality!
She suggested pork, but that would mean running to the shop, which would make dinner late, and then I would have to deal with a very cranky, hungry 10-year-old. I was just about to give in to her request and zip to the chop shop, when I remembered I had bought 4 handsome pork chops the other day. I had forgotten all about them.
Dinner was thrown into the oven, quick smart, and a piece of buttered toast was enough to satisfy until dinner was ready.
The chops were tenderly delicious, and the sauce unctuous. This dinner could be put together by a child, so all you timid cooks head to the kitchen, and give this one a go. It will not disappoint.
You will Need: 4 thick-cut pork chops (1″), 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tsp cumin seeds, sea-salt, freshly cracked pepper, 1 cup baby carrots, 2 celery ribs, with leaves, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 14 oz plum tomatoes, sliced (1 can), including juices, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 or 4 sage leaves, 2 tbs all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 cup white wine, 3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth).
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Put your chops on a plate or board and pat them dry. Season each one with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds (1/2 tsp cumin per chop). Place big saute pan on high flame and add 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the chops and sear on both sides until golden (you may need to add more oil when you turn the meat). Transfer to plate.
2 – Turn heat down to medium/low and add 1 tbs of oil if needed. Saute the diced onions for 5 minutes.
3 – Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook for another 8 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and flour and cook for another minute or 2.
4 – Turn heat up to high and add the wine. Let it bubble and thicken, stirring continually for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the rest of the liquid (broth) and cook until it starts to simmer. Add the tomatoes and their juices and stir. Add the chops in an even layer and when liquid comes to a simmer, cover with lid and place in the oven for 1 hour.
6 – Test chops for tenderness by piercing with a knife. They should be extremely tender. Let everything rest for 5 or so minutes before serving.
I served this dinner with plain basmati rice and it was perfect. It would also be good on its own, or, boiled baby potatoes.