Butter-Baked Pork Chops with Colcannon

In case you’re mystified, colcannon is an Irish version of mashed potatoes with fried cabbage and bacon mixed in – it’s absolutely delicious and a brilliant side dish. It works particularly well in this case with the smoky zing of the pork chops, which I marinated in Rossini’s Pork/Chicken Marinade (a rather delicious little herb & spice mix I also used in my Aromatic Pork & Fennel Curry). Finally, I baked the pork steaks in tinfoil – the perfect way, I reckon, to cook pork so that it stays tender and juicy.

2 pork steaks
2 tbsp Rossini’s Pork/Chicken Marinade, OR dried fennel, dill, salt and black peppercorns to make your own version
Olive oil
To make the colcannon:
1 small cabbage
About 70g bacon lardons
1 large potato
3 tbsp crème fraiche
Salt and black pepper

Serves 2.

To start with, you need to marinate the pork steaks for a couple of hours. If you’re making your own marinade, simply grind all the herbs and spices together in a pestle and mortar. Sprinkle the steaks generously on both sides, then pop in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, cover and set aside.

Once you’re ready to sort out the rest, preheat the oven to 200˚C (180˚C fan). Place each pork steak in the middle of a large square of tinfoil. Top with salt and pepper and a knob of butter, then wrap loosely in the tinfoil (just bring all the edges up over the top and scrunch) and place in the oven once it’s up to temperature. Set a timer for 35 minutes.
When there’s about 25 minutes left on the timer, peel the potato, chop it up, and get it boiling in a pan of salted water. To prepare the cabbage, remove the outer leaves, and then cut off about a third and slice into thin strips. Chop the bacon lardons into small pieces, then tip into a frying pan and get them sizzling in a little olive oil. Once they’ve lost their raw colour, add the cabbage and stir gently until the bacon is crispy and the cabbage soft and golden.

By this point, the potatoes should be nearly done – check to see if they fall apart easily when prodded. Drain the pan, then add a couple of generous scoops of butter and the crème fraiche, and mash until smooth. Season well, then tip the fried cabbage and bacon in and mix it through. Cover and keep warm until the steaks are ready – they should be nearly done anyway. When the timer goes off, carefully open the tinfoil and take the steaks out with tongs (don’t tip them out, because there’ll be a certain amount of oil in the tinfoil packets), then serve up with a generous helping of creamy colcannon.