Tag Archives: pork

Stewed Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce

Stewed Apple Sauce

I can’t imagine a juicy pork chop without some apple sauce on the side.  Or my afternoon yogurt snack without a fresh topping of my apple sauce.  Although I have no idea whether I should call this apple sauce, apple compote or just plain stewed apples, it’s one of those simple little side dishes I make constantly.  It’s hardly even a recipe it’s so very simple and I’m sure once you’ve tried it you’ll never use shop bought apple sauce again.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

5 x medium apples (I like Elstar) peeled, cored and  roughly diced
A little water, about 1 cm / 0.5in.  in the bottom of your pan, just so the apple sauce doesn’t stick.

Method

  1. Place the apples and water into a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil, then allow to simmer until the apples are soft. This takes about 10 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on the apples so they don’t stick or burn, stir occasionally giving them a mash against the side of the pan to check if they are getting soft.
  2. When the mix is soft mash with a fork or a wooden spoon or if you want a really smooth texture, give it a quick whizz up in the liquidizer.

  Tips and Variations

  • The amount of water can depend on the apples, so if you feel it is getting to dry while cooking, just add a little water. Or , if you feel there is too much water, just turn the heat up and let it evaporate as steam.
  • Serve with roast chicken or pork. I love a little on my porridge or with some yogurt as a snack, even on its own.
  • Try using half apples, half pears. If you do this, you can add the pears later, about half way through the cooking time, as they are normally softer and need less cooking.
  • Don’t be tempted to add sugar until the apple sauce has cooled – once you taste it, you’ll more than likely find it doesn’t need any.
  • This sauce keeps in the fridge for up to a week (I often keep it a little longer and it’s fine). You can freeze it also if you wish (even in ice-lolly shapes!)

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Apple Sauce

 

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples :

I’ve always loved a pork chop, but somehow every time I made them, they seemed a little dry or tough.  I tried all sorts of ways of cooking them, and also bought meat from lots of different butchers, but I just couldn’t get the succulent result I wanted, until …  The secret of a perfect pork chop for me is to brine them first.  Basically that means steeping them in salted water for a couple of hours before you cook them.  Simplest of tips, but best results.

Preparation Time: Brining time is from 30 minutes to 4 hours, whatever you can manage.  The rest of the preparation will take about 25 minutes.
Cooking Time: Up to 30 minutes – some of this time will depend on how thick your chops are.

Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Pork Chops
The Brine
500ml / 1pt. tap water
2 x bay leaves
2 x tsp of salt
1 x tsp of whole black peppercorns
2 x smashed garlic cloves
½ tsp of juniper berries (optional)
The Pork Chops
4 x pork chops on the bone
1 x tbsp of olive oil
For the Mash
800gr /1.7 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 x large leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced thinly
2 x garlic cloves, chopped finely
About a tbsp of olive oil
2 x tsps of Dijon mustard (or to taste)
Salt and Black pepper to taste
For the Apples
1 x tbsp of butter
3 or 4 apples sliced into thick orange segment shapes (don’t peel the apples)
A drizzle of honey

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Method

  1. Place the brine ingredients in a dish that will hold the pork so that the water will cover your meat. If you need more water to cover the meat remember to adjust the ratio of the salt and other ingredients accordingly.  Place the pork in the brine and leave it for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. To cook the potatoes place them in a pan and cover them generously in tap water and a little salt, cover and bring to the boil, remove the lid and cook until there is little resistance to the tip of a knife when pressed into the potato. Drain and set aside in a colander to steam for a couple of minutes.
  3. In another pan heat the olive oil on a medium heat when hot add the garlic and the leeks. Sweat the leeks down by keeping them on a low heat and covering the pan with a close fitting lid.  Stir very occasionally just to check they are not sticking but there is enough heat to cook them.  Ideally you don’t want to get colour on your leeks that’s why we’re not frying them intensely.  The idea is to keep the colour of your mash nice an pale.
  4. To finish the potatoes put them back in their pan, mash them, add in the leeks, mustard, salt and pepper, mix and mash until smooth. Check for seasoning and set aside until you need them.  If you cover the pan with a close fitting lid, this will keep warm for about 10 minutes.
  5. To cook the pork pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  6. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels then rub both sides of each chop with olive oil.
  7. Place a non-stick frying pan on a high heat, get it nice and hot, then place the chops in the pan – they should sizzle immediately. Give them about 3 minutes on each side to colour, without turning them in between.
  8. Place the chops in the oven and roast them for 12 to 15 minutes. You can check if they are ready by using a meat thermometer, but I usually just slice into the thickest part of the chop that I will eat and check there is no pink colour.
  9. In another frying pan place the butter in on a medium to high heat, once it has melted add your apple slices. Let them fry for about 3 minutes on each side.  The idea is to get them brown, softened, but still with a bit of crunch.  Finish them by squeezing over a little honey (maybe only a teaspoon or so), toss them in the honey and serve on the side of your dish.

 Tips and Variations

  • I used to find that pork chops could become dry and a bit tough, but since using this brining method they stay nice and juicy.
  • Leeks can trap dust and dirt in between their layers. I find the best way to make sure they are clean is to slice them down the middle lengthways so that you can run the water and clean in between each section.
  • I normally use whatever eating apples I have, I don’t buy cooking apples for this recipe. The amount f honey you use will depend on how sweet the apples are.
  • If you don’t have a frying pan that you can transfer to the oven, use a roasting tray, but heat it up in the oven whilst you are browning the chops in a pan, then transfer them to the tray. Don’t forget to use your oven gloves when you are moving these pans and trays around though.

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw

Best Amsterdam Food : De Leeuw Butcher

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw

Not just any butchers, apart from being experts with quality meats, these guys are producers, protectors, educators, chefs and hosts.

You know something special is about to happen as soon as you walk in the door.  If you love food, appreciate quality, you can’t help but feel your foodie sixth sense tingling here.  I’m never sure what exactly sets it off, the aroma, the selection of products, or the warm smile that greets you at Slagerij (butcher) De Leeuw.

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw

They’ve been in the Utrechtsestraat since 1966, originally set up by Fred and Yolanda De Leeuw, who were famous for their truffels as well as their meat products.  Arno, the current owner, took over about 15 years ago and since then has built on the legacy left by the previous owners.  Arno has taken his butcher shop to a whole new level.  The basis is quality, top quality, the best quality.  Every time I see his cuts of meat it warms my heart, I can see immediately by the colour that it has been produced, hung and butchered with knowledge, experience and great care.  The majority of their beef is Wagyu, Arno even uses it to make his pastrami – imagine pastrami made from Wagyu and to the recipe used by Katz’s diner in New York.  You think you don’t know Katz?  Yes you do, it’s the diner made famous by Meg Ryan’s ‘performance’ in ‘When Harry Met Sally’.

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw

The pork and lamb products are mainly imported from Spain, known of course for their famous Pata Negra pigs who forage for acorns and produce the sweetest, melt in the mouth Iberico ham.

So, Ok, they’ve got fantastic meat, but that’s just the start, then its about what they do with it. Terrines, pâté’s, salads, sausages (traditional Dutch and further afield), burgers, stocks,  meatballs, salami and other charcuterie – is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is – and with two top trained chefs working full time there is always a range of terrific main meals on offer and almost endless canapé.  With all this talk of meat you might feel a bit left out if you are not so keen, but there is also lots for veggies too and even fish.

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw

And, I have to mention their spectacular stuffed turkeys – if you are used to celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas or even New Year with the big bird, this is the place to get it.  The Netherlands doesn’t have a tradition of eating turkey, hardly at all, and certainly not over the holidays, so it can be difficult to find it.  Look no further – they’ll even cook it for you and bring it to the door piping hot!

Ok, you might have gathered that I’m impressed with what Arno does, I am.  But there’s one thing, a very personal thing I’d like to share too.  You might think that with all their success and, yes, well fame I suppose, that they’d be a bit stuck up.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Arno and his team are down to earth, hard working and they care.  They care about what they do, their products and their customers.  They will always take the time to explain their processes and to answer all my stupid questions.  I would like to thank Arno and his team for being so generous with their time and so kind to me and my Food Tour clients when we come to visit.  Cheers!  I look forward to the next time.

Slagerij De Leeuw
Proprietaire Arno A.C. Veenhof

Best Amsterdam Food: Butcher De Leeuw