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Berkshire Pork Loin Chop with Caramelized Apples

September 26th, 2011

Berkshire Pork Loin Chop

When cooking without a recipe (the way I usually cook), I never measure things out, and rarely keep track of cooking times – which, when you’re writing a blog, doesn’t really help with sharing recipes. I didn’t plan on sharing last night’s dinner in my blog, as it was late when I made dinner, but the photo came out decent despite not having any natural light or a lightbox – so, here we are.

Berkshire pork chop

That silly-looking creature in the top-right corner? That’s my little sister’s “salt pig”.

Sunday evening, my little sister (we shall call her P) and I made a stop at one of my favourite places, The Healthy Butcher, to pick up some things for dinner. We spied two beautiful butterflied pork loin chops in the butcher’s case, and brought them home with us.

I should take this moment to mention that I don’t really like pork. Rather, I’m choosy with pork (bacon, charcuterie, sausage and pork belly are the exceptions – give me that stuff and I’ll gladly… er… dispatch it for you any time). If we’re out at a restaurant, I will rarely order it, and I never buy it from a regular grocery store. There’s just something about it – a strange fishy/greasy smell, a stringy texture, the fact that it’s often overcooked, leaving it grainy, dry and bland – that I find unappealing. So when P said she was in the mood for pork, I thought, “ehhhh… okay.” (I was eyeing the Wagyu steaks next to it more hungrily, but hey, there’s always next time!)

I was not to regret the decision. Berkshire pork originates in England and is a highly desirable heirloom breed – and if you’ve tried it before it isn’t difficult to understand why. It possesses a higher fat content and a finer grain than regular pork, and the farm that ours came from backs onto a forest filled with walnut trees, in which the farmer allows his pigs to forage. With a story like that, what gastronome can resist?

I have no recipe for you today (it would be irresponsible of me just to estimate what I did and hope for the best), but if you’re in the mood for some pork – why not give Berkshire a try?

P and I seasoned the chops with salt and pepper, then seared them on both sides in a cast-iron pan with some bacon fat and lemon zest, and covered it, turning the heat down to low, for the last few minutes of cooking. We also made a caramelized apple/onion chutney and finished the dish with some coarsely chopped pecans. With garlic and rosemary crushed new red potatoes and patty pan squash on the side, it was a meal perfectly befitting the beginning of fall!

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