While thinking about what to write about this recipe, I was reminded of an old story about the Hungry Man and his dog Spot. Life had pretty much got the better of Hungry Man. He was starving and he needed to eat. With remorse in both his eyes and his voice, he turned to Spot and said “If we don’t get some food by tomorrow, I’ll have no choice but to eat you.” Spot whined and cured up at his master’s feet. The night passed and the next day dawned with no improvement in the food situation. Hungry Man duly killed the dog, cooked and ate him, leaving only a big pile of clean bones behind. He sat back, replete, and said to himself; “If only Spot were here, he’d love those bones”.
I was reminded of that old story while I sucked the last of the apricot sauce off the bones of the chops in this outstanding recipe. If you have some preserved apricots, I have to say use them in this way. Earlier in the year, I preserved some apricots in brandy. There is a post about it here. Not being a big dessert person, I wanted to try them in a savoury dish.
Ingredients for bone-in pork chops with preserved apricot sauce and spicy couscous
- 2 big, bone-in free range pork chops*
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 jar of preserved apricots in brandy
- 200 grammes of pearl couscous
- Thyme, parsley, chilis, and chives
*If you can’t get good free range pork chops, don’t bother trying this dish. It would be a waste of the other ingredients.
Firstly, slice through the skin and fat on the pork chops. Season the chops very well on both sides.
Heat a cast iron pan to medium hot. Add the chops and don’t touch them for 5 minutes. Turn them.
Meanwhile, chop all the herbs and chilli.
Cook the couscous to the packet instructions (anybody can do this). Stir in the aromatics along with some salt and pepper. Let it stand while you finish the pork. Pour the juice from the preserving jar (brandy, water and sugar) into the frying pan.
Let this reduce by about half. It will deglaze the pan and thicken. Move one of the chops so you can fit the apricots in. They go in towards the end to prevent them disintegrating.
Serve the highly flavoured pork chops and apricots with the sauce and couscous. It is a rare treat. I’ll guarantee you don’t even give any of the bones to poor old Spot. “Where did the dog go? Spot, Spot, where are you…”