Pork chop with spicy caponata

For a delicious meal, try Martin Blunos's recipe for roast pork chops, a creative combination of flavours and textures
By Martin Blunos
Pork chop with spicy caponata
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus overnight soaking
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 4 pork chops, each 280g
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 450 g couscous, ideally Italian, toasted
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut finely lengthways, marinated for 1 hour in olive oil, lemon juice, Provençal herbs and garlic juice
  • 1 pinches black pepper

Brine

  • 2 litres water
  • 100 g salt
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries, ground
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 heads garlic, halved
  • 3 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme

Caponata

  • 3 medium aubergines, cut into small cubes
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, cut into small cubes
  • 4 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red peppers, cut into small cubes
  • 1 yellow peppers, cut into small cubes
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 70 g pitted green olives, cut into small cubes
  • 75 g capers, drained
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 75 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinches black pepper

Balsamic pork stock reduction

  • 500 ml pork stock
  • 250 ml balsamic vinegar

Method

1. First, prepare the brine. Place the water, salt, sugar, treacle, allspice, juniper, peppercorns, sage, bay, garlic, shallots and thyme in a large saucepan. 2. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool. 3. Add the pork chops to the cooled brine solution and set aside to soak overnight in the refrigerator. 4. Remove the soaked chops from the brine, pat dry and coat in two tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. 5. To make the caponata, layer the aubergine cubes in a large colander. Place the colander over a plate and let stand for one hour. 6. In a deep, heavy-based frying pan, heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil until hot. 7. Add half the aubergine to the pan and fry until browned on all sides. Remove the aubergine with a slotted spoon and pat dry with kitchen paper. 8. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the pan, add the remaining aubergine, fry until browned, remove and pat dry. 9. Wipe the frying pan clean, then add the olive oil and heat through. 10. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, yellow pepper and celery and fry for five minutes until softened. 11. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for ten minutes. 12. Add the olives and capers and cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened. 13. Stir in the fried aubergine, sugar and red wine vinegar. Cook for ten minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. 14. To make the balsamic pork reduction, combine the pork stock and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. 15. Bring to the boil and cook briskly until reduced and syrupy. Allow to cool. 16. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. 17. To complete the dish, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan. 18. Add the dried chops and fry on both sides for 2-3 minutes, until coloured. 19. Transfer the chops to a roasting tray and roast for 10-12 minutes. 20. Remove the chops from the oven and keep warm allowing the meat to rest for ten minutes. 21. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the couscous and cook until al dente, drain, plunge into iced water, drain again and pat dry with kitchen paper. 22. Preheat the grill. Grill the marinated courgettes. 23. To serve, drizzle the pork stock reduction on four serving plates and place a spoonful each of the caponata and the couscous side by side in centre. Carve the chops and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with the capanata and couscous topped with the courgette ribbons.

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