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Smothered pork chops with mustard and thyme butter

Serves 4

A really warming, homely autumn or winter bake. You can use either waxy or floury potatoes in this – each will give a different result. Slices of floury potato will disintegrate, but waxy ones will remain intact. If you can’t be bothered to make the butter, just serve the dish as it is with a jar of mustard on the side, and put sprigs of thyme in to bake with the chops.


Ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 tart eating apple
  • 300g (10 ½oz) potatoes, washed (no need to peel them)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 55g (2oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 x 250g (9oz) thick pork chops, bone in and partly trimmed of fat
  • 300ml (10fl oz) dry white wine or cider

For the mustard and thyme butter

  • 55g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ tbsp grain mustard
  • leaves from 4 sprigs thyme

Method

  1. Halve and core the apple and cut it into wedges about 2.5cm (1in) thick at the thickest part. Slice the potatoes into rounds about the thickness of a pound coin. Toss the potatoes with half the apple and half the onion, and season. Put in the bottom of an ovenproof dish (which will take the chops in a single layer). Dot with half the butter.
  2. Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan. Season the pork chops and quickly brown them on both sides (you just want to colour the meat, not cook it through). Put the chops on top of the vegetables and apple and put the rest of the apple and onion on top. Deglaze the frying pan with the wine or cider by pouring the alcohol into the pan and letting it bubble while you scrape the juices that have stuck to the pan. Pour this over the chops and put in an oven preheated to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the onions and apples on the top over occasionally so that they get a good all-over colour, until cooked through.
  3. To make the mustard and thyme butter, just mash the ingredients together, form into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film or greaseproof paper and chill. Serve a couple of slices of butter on top of each helping.

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