The Sunday Roast – a great English tradition (other English traditions include, but are not limited to, calling people “Treacle” and drinking out of fancy teacups with your pinky finger sticking out in the air). You always hear people talking about the best roast dinner – whether it be their mother’s recipe that has been passed down for centuries, the newest gastro pub that just popped up around the corner, le nouveaux recipe from a celebrity chef, or the roast they had at a Michelin Star the other day.
So I am currently on the search for the best roast dinner. But is there a best or can you appreciate them all differently? That, my friends, is the question.
Nathan, Hannah, Glenn and I have been housemates (more like one big family) at the passage for just over 2 years now, and it has begun the end of this era, as Glenn moves out to live with Tess (dramatic tone intended). Hannah is currently on a business trip, but Nathan and I went over to Glenn and Tess’s new place for a roast dinner.
Glenn decided on Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Pork Chop with Dried Apricot and Sage.
It was an absolute delight. Very different from the usual roast dinner, it has lots of amazing flavours and textures to it.
The pancetta and garlic roasted with the potatoes and then cooking the pork on top of the potatoes at the end, gave them a great smokey flavour. Slicing into the pork to find a sage and dried apricot filling was great. It gave a hint of sweet and crunch from the apricot and an earthy flavour from the sage. All together it was a great combination.
As the sun was still shining outside (in England you need to enjoy the sunshine when you can), we wandered out for dessert in the garden – scones with clotted cream, Bonne Maman’s strawberry jam, fresh raspberries and fresh strawberries.
Thank you for a lovely meal, Glenn!
And Mr. Oliver, hats off to you, what a scrumptious recipe!
Jamie Oliver’s Recipe for Roasted Pork Chops with Dried Apricot and Sage, from his book “Jamie’s Italy”:
1kg | 2 lb 3 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thick pork chops, on the bone
20 fresh sage leaves
1 bulb of garlic, 1 clove peeled and finely chopped
4 slices of prosciutto
55 gr | 2oz butter, finely diced
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
6 thick strips of pancetta or smoked bacon (1cm | 1/2 inch thick, if possible)
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
1. Put the potatoes into a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Boil them for 3 or 4 minutes, then drain them and allow them to steam dry.
2. Lay the pork chops on a board and insert a small knife horizontally into the side of each chop to make a hidden pocket. Make sure the tip of the knife stays in the middle of the chop. as you don’t want to cut through the meat to either side.
3. Set aside 8 of the sage leaves. Add 8 more sage leaves to a food processor with a peeled and chopped clove of garlic, the prosciutto, butter, apricots and a pinch of salt and pepper and give it a whiz. Then divide the mixture in 4 and push it into the pockets of the pork chops.
4. Dress the 8 large sage leaves that you set aside with a little oil and press one side of them into some flour. Press a leaf, flour side down, on to each side of the chops (so you have 2 leaves on each chop). :Leave the chops on a plate, covered with clingfilm while you get your potatoes ready.
5. If you’re using thick strips of pancetta, slice them into matchsticks. Put them into a large roasting tray with the potatoes, the remaining sage leaves, and the whole unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with a little olive oil and put the tray into the preheated oven. After 10 minutes put a frying pan on the hob and get it very hot. Add a touch of olive oil, and put in the seasoned pork chops. Fry for 10 minutes. until golden and crisp on both sides, then remove the tray of potatoes from the oven – they should be nice and light golden by now – and place the chops on top. Put the tray back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. depending on how thick the chops are, then remove the tray from the oven and serve.