Pork chops are delicious casseroled and these pork loin fillets are equally tasty cooked in the same way. The extra cooking time as compared to most other methods is more than justified by the tender succulence of the served meat and this is also a healthier cooking method than frying. The honey and apricots are optional and could be replaced simply by some chicken stock or vegetable oil if desired but they do impart an extra special flavor and texture to the served dish.
Casseroled pork fillets on a fried potato bed with sauteed red cabbage and pear
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 2 quarter pound pork loin steaks
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 medium baking potato
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- 6 soft apricots*
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- Black pepper
- ¼ small red cabbage
- 1 small just ripe pear**
- Vegetable oil for frying/sauteing
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
*Apricots which were initially dried but which have since been partly re-hydrated. Dried apricots could be used instead but fresh would not be suitable.
**It's important that the pear not be too ripe or it will disintegrate to mush during cooking.
It is not essential to brine the pork fillets before they are started cooking but it does help to improve both the tenderness and the flavor. Put them in to a suitable dish and scatter with a tablespoon of salt and the black peppercorns. Pour over about a pint of cold water or just enough to ensure the fillets are completely submerged. Cover and leave for a minimum one hour though three or four hours is better.
The potato should be very thoroughly washed but not peeled before being sliced to a thickness of around a quarter of an inch.
Put the potatoes in to a bowl and season well with salt before pouring over enough cold water to cover. This is again not essential but helps to get rid of some of the starch and partly seasons the potatoes while you are waiting anyway for the pork fillets steeping in the brine.
Start your oven heating to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4.
Lift the pork fillets from the water with cooking tongs to a plate covered with a few sheets of kitchen paper.
Pat the tops of the fillets with more kitchen paper to ensure you get rid of all the excess salty water.
Lay the pork fillets in the bottom of a suitably sized casserole dish and drizzle with the honey. Season with the dried sage and add the soft apricots. Put the lid on the dish and place it in the oven for thirty-five minutes.
There are many different ways to prepare the cabbage for cooking in this way but one easy method is to begin by cutting the whole cabbage in half, down through the central core. This should be done around five to ten minutes before the pork fillets are due to come out of the oven.
Take half the cabbage and cut out the triangular white core with two v-shaped cuts. The core should be discarded. Cut the half in half again in the same direction as previously.
Slice across the red cabbage quarter to shred. Wash the pear, cut it in half, cut out the core and roughly chop.
Lift the potatoes from their brining water to a plate covered with kitchen paper and as with the pork fillets earlier, pat the top sides dry with more paper.
When the pork comes out the oven, lift the lid up (being careful of the escaping steam) just to check with a fork that the meat is fully cooked and tender. Put the lid back on and set aside for the fillets to rest on a heatproof surface while you cook the cabbage and potatoes.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a pot and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the red cabbage and pear and season with salt, pepper and the ground nutmeg.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Add the potato slices in a single layer and reduce the heat to medium. Season with black pepper and fry for an initial five minutes, gently shaking the pan occasionally to make extra sure none of them are sticking.
Stir the cabbage and pear extremely frequently as they cook for about ten minutes or until the cabbage is just softened.
Turn the potatoes with a spatula and fry for five more minutes on their second sides.
When the potatoes are done, lift them to a plate covered with kitchen paper and allow them to sit for a minute or so for the excess oil to drain.
Arrange the potato slices in an overlapping circle in the middle of an oval serving plate.
Cooking tongs are best used to lift the pork fillets on to the top of the potatoes.
Spoon half the cabbage and pear mixture on to the plate either side of the potatoes and pork, spoon the apricots on top of the pork fillets and the dish is ready for immediate service.