Tag Archives: Apples

Pork chops with apples and sage – divine!

1 Apr

This recipe uses cider as the cooking liquor and I was a bit concerned it would be too sweet.  I shouldn’t have worried, it was absolutely gorgeous.  I served it with mashed potato and cabbage.  I think cabbage is a really underutilised vegetable and I have no idea why.  I often serve it with mashed potatoes and make sure I make more than I need so I can use up the leftovers in Bubble and Squeak for breakfast the following day.  Mmmmmm!!

Jason Atherton has recently presented in the BBC series, The Great British Food Revival.  His commentary stated that the cabbage, in particular the Hispi or pointed cabbage, is in crisis.  Sales of this type of cabbage have fallen by 71% and of cabbages in general by over 30% since the 1990’s.  The belief is that this wonderful vegetable is unpopular due to memories of school dinners, soggy cabbage, stinking cooking vapours and last, but not least, that it causes flatulence.  Mrs Beeton, no doubt the founder of the soggy, smelly cabbage, has stated in her cookery book that cabbage should be cooked for 45 minutes.Cabbage is also thought of as a winter vegetable, hence the decline in the sale of the summer growing Hispi.  The truth is, however, that today cabbages are grown all year round, so at any time you can select a cabbage that is seasonal and buy it from local producers.

Not only does the cabbage taste wonderful but it is also good for you.  Lincoln University have been doing studies on the health benefits of cabbage.  They have found that there is as much Vitamin C in 1 cabbage as there is in 1 orange.  They also contain Vitamin A which is good for eyesight and the greener the cabbage leaf, the more Vitamin A it will contain. Other studies have shown evidence that cabbages reduce cholesterol and protects against some types of cancer, whilst cabbage juice has anti-inflammatory properties.  The most recent studies show that red cabbage is good for memory loss and there are some suggestions that it may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.  All good reasons, I think, to eat more cabbage and follow the lead from Eastern European countries where it is part of their staple diet!

Jason did some fantastic cabbage recipes on the programme.  If you missed it you can watch it on the BBC iplayer.  Here is the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0178cf0/Great_British_Food_Revival_Series_Two_Herbs_and_Cabbage/

OK, here is the recipe.  I hope you love it as much as we do!

Pork chops with apples and cider                                Serves 4

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 eating apples (Braeburn are good for this)
  • 250ml/9 fl oz dry cider
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • 100ml/3 fl oz low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  1. Heat the oven to 160C/150C fan/gas 3.  Lightly coat the chops in the flour.  Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan.  When the butter is dissolved fry the chops on both sides for a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Transfer to a shallow, ovenproof dish.
  2. Quarter and core the apples then cut into half to make 16 wedges.  Lower the heat in the pan then fry the apples until golden on both sides.  Arrange around the chops.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the cider then pour over the chops.  Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, dependant on the thickness of the chops, or until the pork is tender and the apples are cooked.
  4. Transfer the pork and apples to a serving plate and keep warm.  Return the cooking liquor to the pan and add the sage.  Bring to the boil and reduce by half.  Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the creme fraiche and mustard.  Simmer for a few minutes then pour over the chops and serve. 

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Fancied an alternative to Sunday roast. Chicken in cider should do it!

30 Nov

  Years ago, I was fortunate enough to accompany the French school trips to Normandy, run by my husband’s school.  I remember these with fondness, the children were so excited, for most it was their first trip abroad without their parents and, without exception, they were so good!  They were even complimented on one occasion, on the ferry over to Caen, by a lovely old lady who said they were angels.  I had to agree!

During these trips we had some fantastic French cuisine, all rustic and easy to prepare, to cater for the large numbers.  One meal I remember well was when we had chicken cooked in cider and served with apples.  I know it sounds strange but please don’t be put off, it was absolutely delicious!  I have made a similar recipe many times using pork chops but thought I would have a go at one with chicken.  I have found a host of similar recipes, so I have used these as a base and adapted it to suit our taste.  Before we get to the recipe, here is a bit of information about Normandy that many of you will know and, hopefully, none of us will forget!

Normandy is on the north coast of France, with beaches on the English Channel, and played an important part in the World War II.  The Germans had marched through Europe, occupying the countries in its path, including France, and the English Channel was the only thing stopping them from invading England.  In 1944, June 6th, Operation Overlord took place, where Allied troops, including armies from the United Kingdom, Canada and USA, landed on the Normandy beaches, and worked with the French Resistance to fight the Germans and regain control of France.  Those who have seen ‘Saving Private Ryan’ will have a good idea how difficult this mission was.  I remember on one school trip we visited the American War Cemetery.  There was an old gentleman there who was part of the D Day Landings.  His family asked him to tell them what had happened and for a few painful minutes the man could not speak, he was so overcome with grief.  He then recounted how he had watched his brother die and some of his friends, including the best man at his wedding.  By the time he had finished he was sobbing, as were all of us that were listening.  I don’t think those children will ever forget, I know I won’t.

On a lighter side, Normandy is famous for apples and the production of cider and Calvados, an apple brandy.  They use these in many of their recipes.  So, onto the recipe for today.  I’ve included a slide show at the end to show the various steps.  I served ours with boiled new potatoes and cabbage.  It really was lovely.  Hope you give it a try.

Chicken in cider with apples

  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) dry cider (if using a 440ml can this will leave a glass of cider in the can for the cook!)
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 5 tbsp full fat Greek yogurt (low fat will curdle)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  1. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
  2. Heat half the butter in a large ovenproof casserole over a high heat and fry the chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until the thighs are brown all over.  Keep turning to make sure they don’t burn.  Season well then add the shallots and celery.  Cook for a few minutes and add the stock and cider, bring to the boil, cover and cook in oven for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a small pan and fry the apples for about a minute on each side or until lightly browned.  Remove and reserve.
  4. Take the casserole out of the oven and place over a medium heat on the hob.  Mix the cornflour with the yogurt and add to the casserole, stirring, followed by the tarragon, mustard and apples.  Heat through for a couple of minutes then serve.

NB  You can freeze this when cooled so its useful for getting ahead for a dinner party.

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