Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A deceptively simple supper

Grilled pork chops with lemon and caper dressing, rocket salad and fast fries

I don't often cook chops, as I have been disappointed by the quality of supermarket chops a couple of times in the past - bony, dry and tasteless. When I do head to one of my favourite butchers, it's usually to buy a big-ass roast or steaks for a special meal, and often I'm too lazy to be hitting the speciality shops for a weeknight dinner.

I have been delighted to see that Coles and Safeway are now stocking a good selection of cuts of free-range Otway pork. According to a media release on their website, it's actually been in Coles across Melbourne since 2004, but I've noticed a much larger presence lately. I'll probably still get my big pork roasts from a butcher - Nigella says that plastic wrap gives crackling a "very sloppy kiss of death", and the friendly guys at Rendinas, or any other quality butcher, will cut your meat to size, as well as scoring the rind and other fiddly jobs. For individual porky pieces, however, like chops or fillets, the supermarket will be a great source. Yay!

Last week I found a juicy pair of Otway pork chops at Coles, reduced in price because they were approaching the use-by date. Score! I took them home, and in an uncharacteristic display of spontaneity, marinated them in lemon juice, olive oil, peppercorns, salt, rosemary and garlic. (Loosely based on a chop recipe that Lisa emailed me).


I let them sit for an hour or so, before grilling them on a medium flame for 5 minutes a side and letting them rest. Meanwhile, I washed some rocket, knocked up some fast fries, and mixed together a lemon-caper dressing. The recipe for the dressing - just lemon juice, olive oil, capers - is from bills open kitchen, and accompanies Bill's veal chops. Easy peasy.

I was absolutely knocked out by how delicious this dinner was. It didn't take a huge amount of effort, and the result was fabulous! I will definitely be trying this combination out on my family soon.

The dinner was really, very easy to make. Please give it a go! I made it when I'd strained the muscles in my right hand, and it was all bandaged up. Yes folks, I made this whole dinner with my left hand! Yes, this also means I can't slice up the meat. I did a Joey Tribbiani, and, extremely classily used the bone as a handle to eat it. YUM!

11 comments:

KittyMeow said...

Hmm I've heard nasty things about Otway Pork. Such that their "bred free range" means only that the baby piggies are BORN free range and then locked up.
I might Google said story but I think I read it on the Vogue threads somewhere.

Good pork is very hard to find though isn't it? My dad, ever knowledgable in such things, says that it doesn't matter where the pigs are grown, its what they get fed which makes them taste the way they do. So look for grain fed pork and personally from an ethical standpoint, also *real* free range. Yet to find it though!! :-D

Vida said...

Sarah, the Otway pork is great, both Coles and my favourite butcher shop Leon's in Carlisle Street stock it and it is delicious. I think I even served some up for my birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago! Vida x

Sarah said...

KittyMeow - That's quite concerning. Not that I exclusively eat free-range meat by any means, but I am making the effort to make the switch from conventional to free-range meat and poultry products. When I buy a product that says it's free-range / organic / whatever, I want those claims to be true!

I had a quick google and couldn't find anything to substantiate the claim that Otway pigs are locked up or treated poorly after birth - Otway pigs are grain-fed, and have an RSPCA accreditation. I got the following quote from the RSPCA website:

"More recently the RSPCA has developed standards for animal welfare friendly pork production. Under these standards a pig farm will be considered for accreditation if all pigs are kept either in well-managed extensive outdoor systems or within enhanced indoor environments that cater for the behavioural and physical needs of sows, boars, and piglets reared for slaughter, and where considerate handling, transportation and humane slaughter are observed. Practices such as sow stalls and nose-ringing are not permitted."

So I think that the Otway Pigs are kept indoors, but in "enhanced indoor environments", and not sow stalls (yurgh!). I'll definitely keep my eye out for any news to the contrary. It's always good to be vigilant. I guess farmer's markets would be a good place to look if you wanna find smaller producers who let their piggies roam outdoors?

Vida - I'm glad it's quite widely stocked around Melbourne! I bet your birthday dinner was delicious! :)

xox Sarah

thanh7580 said...

"How you doin'. The pork's great, but I think you should mix it with Monica's lasagne. That would be awesome."

Dani said...

Free range is the only way to go for pork. Or organic of course. I highly recommend Belmore Meats in Balwyn for all your (organic) piggy needs.

Sarah said...

Hi Dani,

Thanks for the recommendation! Belmore Butcher is great, isn't it? But my favourite butcher, even though it's smaller, is Rendinas. They specialise in organic and biodynamic meats, and their beef rib roasts are incredible. That's also in Balwyn, on Belmore road too!

xox Sarah

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Looks delicious. I love it when something spontaneously made turns out fabulous! I try and get free-range pork when I can too. It's so good that it is available at all!

claire said...

Hiya Sarah... Looks yummo! I love the capers and lemon combo :)

Dani said...

I recently discovered Rendinas but haven't had the chance to shop there yet. Must do that next time I'm on a meat buying mission. I love a recommended shop. Thanks!

KittyMeow said...

Well that's good news on the Otway Pork - so it turned out to be just a rumour :-D Thanks for clearing that up!

Sarah said...

I'm glad too, Kittymeow!

I'd hate to have been duped into paying top dollar for unethically produced meat!

I'd love to hear any recommendations for other great local meat producers..

xox Sarah