Pork. To me, one of God’s most delicious gifts, brimming with good things from the tip of its pert nose to the end of its squiggly tail. Despite the tides all turning to healthier and more sensible eating, I still stubbornly throw myself with wild abandon at all things pork.
That being said, there was one cut of pork that I didn’t quite enjoy as much as the others…pork chop. Strange, as I live in a country where almost everyone loves a good pork chop (including my best friend who doesn’t even like pork anywhere near as much as I do!). I, though, find chops, dare I say it, too lean. I prefer getting my pork in the form of a slow cooked belly or hock, a whole roasted lechon, smoky barbecue ribs, or a pata tim in its sweet-sticky sauce. With a pork chop, you’ve got a whole lot of loin and a thinnish strip of fat at the end. It just doesn’t do it for me.
Until I met King Henry…
Maple Roasted Pork Cutlet with Apples and Onions
- 1 x 400 gram bone-in pork cutlet, preferably a King Henry cutlet
- 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 apple, cored, peeled and sliced into wedges
- 1 big white onion, peeled and sliced into wedges
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Score the fat side of the cutlet in a cross-hatch pattern.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Pour over the pork cutlet and sprinkle with some freshly cracked black pepper. Leave to marinate, turning every so often, for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to get the marinade into the scored fat side as well.
- Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Set this aside – this will be the basting sauce.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
- In a roasting pan or tray toss the onions and apple slices with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place the pan in the oven.
- Heat a non-stick skillet on the hob over medium high heat. Add a good glug or two of oil. When the oil is hot add the cutlet. Let this sear in the hot oil for about 3-5 minutes on both sides until golden brown. Hold the cutlet with a pair of tongs and sear its fat side, giving it a nice burnished hue and crisping up the edges.
- When your pork culet has achieved a nice sear all around (don’t forget the fat side!), take the roasting pan out of the oven and lay the cutlet on the onions and apples. Return to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, basting with your saved soy-maple mixture every 10 minutes or so, or until done to your liking.
- This serves one but is easily scalable to serve more.
A King Henry cutlet is cut from the mid-loin to about 1-inch thick. The bone is French trimmed (fancy!) and the skin removed. Although, for all intents and purposes, this is still technically a pork chop, its hefty size and correspondingly largish swipe of glistening fat help me to be forgiving. In fact, we (yes, I drag my husband along my wicked ways) have become big fans of this cut of pork! It always feels luxurious and celebratory at a fraction of the price of a good (beef) steak. Indulgent yet thrifty...I can definitely get behind that :)
And speaking of easily attainable, this is a snap to make. The marinade/basting sauce consists of only two ingredients…ok, three counting the pepper. It may seem a bit fiddly to score the fat but believe me it is worth the miniscule bit of effort it will take for you to do it…you will be rewarded with crunchy edges of fat caramelized in a sweet and savory glaze. If you’re really feeling lazy you can forgo the roasted apples but I urge you to give it a try. It goes amazingly with the pork (as apples are wont to do) and just think of it as doing your main dish and sides in one pan! As the pork roasts atop the apples, the maple-soy marinade, along with the juices from the pork, mingle with the softening apples and the slowly caramelizing onions. I know, yum!
King Henry is now on our regular grocery rotation, gracing our table once in a while, another cut of pork I have grown to love. Worry not, I do also actually love many healthy things, but pork still remains a steadfast friend, never abandoning me in times of heartache or stress. And I too vow to never abandon my loyal, delicious, and oft misunderstood pig.