If you ever fancied having a go at home curing, this recipe is a great place to start. The cure intensifies the flavour of the meat and preserves it enough to keep in the fridge for up to a week.Here they are grilled on a ribbed frying pan (outside bbq not being easily accessible in February), with some roasted potatoes.
- 6 large pork chops – i sliced a piece of a clean pork loin of about 1kg into 6 decent size chop
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil or groundnut oil
For the cure
- 50g fine sea salt
- 25g caster sugar or soft brown sugar
- 3 bay leaves, finely shredded
- 12-16 juniper berries, crushed
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Combine all the ingredients for the cure and put them in a plastic container or nonreactive dish.
- Add the chops and rub lightly all over with the cure.
- Cover and leave it in the fridge for 12 hours (or up to 24 hours for extra-large or thick-cut pork chops, but no longer).
- Turn the chops once or twice during this time, if you can.
- Rinse the chops and pat dry. You can cook them immediately, or keep them in the fridge for five to six days – the flavour will continue to improve over time. They also freeze well.
To cook the chops
- heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry them fairly gently for six minutes a side, until cooked through. (Alternatively, brush them lightly with the oil and grill.)
- Season with pepper (they’ll be salty enough from the cure) and serve with mashed potato and wilted greens.
Once you’ve given this a go, you might want to try your hand at bacon belly – take about 1kg of off-the-bone pork belly, cut it into 4cm strips, and cure it in the same way, but for 48 hours rather than overnight. Rinse off the cure and use it cut into chunks or diced, to add to sauces, stews or salads.