Thursday, 11 September 2014

Autumn on a plate

I was given a pan from Hackman's All Steel series and boy, the collaboration couldn't have come at a better time. Mane Magician had already been pestering me for tips on a new pan as their old one had just broken down. "Something decent, please".

Well, the jury's back with the verdict. This is hands down the best pan I've ever used. And compatible with all sorts of stoves. 

"Beautiful" is not a word often applied to frying pans, but that's exactly what this is. And quality... you can feel it as you hold it. The only negative comment I have is that the pan is on a heavy side - at least I can't operate it with just one hand. On the other hand (look at me all witty!) ... perhaps my biceps need a better workout? Maybe wine glass lifting isn't enough...?

But what really makes this pan so excellent, is the coating. Ceratec© actually means non-stick. And not just theoretically. The heat is distributed evenly, resulting in beautiful browning. And how can I vouch for this? Because I put it to test!

I knew immediately what I wanted to cook. Big, juicy pork chops. With apples and onions. In a comfortingly creamy sauce with just a little bit of acidity from cider and a little tanginess from mustard. All the autumnal flavours in one meal.

And how's this for quick and easy: it's a one-pan wonder! Sides and the sauce all in one pan!

Serves 2-4

2 big )organic) pork chops, on the bone and with fat or 4 smaller ones
8 small onions (new harvest/ shallots or those French small ones - pearl onions?)
2 apples
5 sprigs of thyme
1/2 dl dry cider
1 tbsp mustard (nothing too tangy though)
2 dl cream

Take the meat out of the fridge a couple of hours prior to the cooking and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 220º. Remove the core from the apples and cut into big chunks (This way they won't go all mushy during the cooking). Peel onions, removing the leathery outer skin. 

If possible, go organic. Pork is one of those things where you can really taste it. And their fat renders totally differently too. But don't panic - regular pork will yield utter deliciousness, too!

Pat the chops dry with a kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper. Be generous. 

Brown the onions in a mixture of oil and butter until softened and browned a bit - about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and add apples. Quickly fry them giving them a lovely colour. Remove from the pan. 

Then fry the chops on both sides until gloriously golden. First fry the fat side over moderate heat, then crank the heat up a bit and fry the chops on both sides. Owing to that genius coating there's no need for oil or butter but let's face it a little bit of butter means a lot more flavour, too...!

Would you just look at that. Can you think of anything more comforting?

Remove the chops form the pan and pour in cider. Add thyme sprigs and bring to boil. Combine mustard with cream and pour into the pan. Return the chops, along with apples and onions, into the pan and coat with sauce. Transfer into the oven (yep - the pan is oven-proof too!) and finish cooking there. Depending on the thickness this will take 6-10 minutes. Should you have one of those thermometres, go by that. You're looking for around 63 Celsius / 145 Fahrenheit.

Let rest for about 10 minutes and serve. 

And wait - there is more! (is my manic excitement starting to sound like shopping network to anybody else...?) After the meal, you get to put your feet up as... the pan is dishwasher-safe too! Oh yeah!

For more news and ideas do check Hackman's Facebook page!

*In collaboration with Hackman*




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