Please don’t judge me too harshly. This is hardly a recipe at all. It is a testament to great ingredients and a wonderful cooking method, little more. On the criticism front, I admit that I judge people. I know that I shouldn’t. But I do. No mater how morally fortuitous you are, I bet you are also in the ranks of judgers. Picture yourself in the line at the supermarket. The rake-thin woman in front of you has a trolly piled high with overpriced “organic” vegetables and little else apart from some quinoa and Goji berries. Her shop comes to the price of a small electric car. You think about the overspend, the waste of money and how painfully thin she looks. While she roots in her gym bag for a credit card, you look behind. The trolly aft, in the charge of a middle-aged man, with his belly hanging gracefully over his waistband, is laden down with supersize Coke family-value bottles, frozen pizzas, giant sacks of crisps, oven-frys and a few boxes of microwave popcorn. You feel OK about your shop. Yes, there are a few treats but, you are not wasting money on either “organic” veg or “family-value” sugar laden drinks. Admit it, you are judging. It’s very hard not to.
Buying what I needed for this little meal for two left me feeling pretty smug with myself. Look at the ingredients list. No judger could find fault.
Ingredients (for the chops)
- 2 free range, organic, rare breed pork chops (worth the spend)
- 2 cloves of top quality garlic
- A few pinches of Malden salt
- A few pinches of black pepper
For the Apple and Pomegranate Sauce
- 2 cooking apples
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
For the Spiced Couscous
- 200 grammes of couscous
- 320 ml of good chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Here are the steps to success and to live in no fear of getting adversely judged at home.
Sorry for harping on about this but, if you want to successfully cook any meat, you have to start with good quality meat. If you use poor pork, you will end up with a poor dinner. As the old saying goes; “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”. Get good quality, free range pork, even if it causes a couple of “tut-tuts” from those behind you in the queue.
Season it well. I use Malden sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season these chops. The garlic I got in France, directly from the man who grew it. It is as good as it gets, full of flavour.
Vacuum seal it in a sous vide bag. I use a roll of bag material and cut to size. I then seal both ends twice (“To be sure, to be sure.” as we say in Ireland.)
Get your water bath to temperature. I cooked these at 60ºC, giving me a medium rare end result. (There are plenty of guides for cooking meat sous vide. Google it.)
Place the meat in the bath. Go away and do something else for however long it takes to cook the meat. I cooked this for an hour and a half.
Take the bag out of the bath and cut it open. Pat the meat dry. Remove the pieces of garlic. Heat a frying pan to hot. Add some oil. Fry the chops until brown on both sides. This takes very little time as the meat is already cooked. Keep an eye on them as we don’t want to overcook the meat.
Heat the stock to near boiling. Add the spices (except the salt) to the couscous. Add the stock and stir. Leave to cool. Add the olive oil and the salt. Stir again. This can be served hot or cold.
Peel and slice the apples into a saucepan. Add the sugar and pomegranate seeds. Heat until soft. That’s it.
These sous vide pork chops will have you judged a success. Sous vide is a great way to cook and has numerous advantages over other cooking methods.
I hope you will probably be a bit more forgiving than I, of others, when you are in the supermarket line. However, I also know that you will judge. Just a little, but you will.