For porky perfection (with crackling!),
get yourself a pair of native breed chops,
cut about an inch thick each, and follow these steps...
Score the fat on the chops in a diamond pattern to help it to render when cooking. Do not cut all the way into the meat, a few millimetres will do the trick. (Note: it's much easier to do this step when the meat is cool i.e. at fridge temp and firm.) You can ask your butcher to do this if you prefer.
Prepare a quick salt cure with some sea salt and some flavourful aromats of your choice. Combinations that work well include:
- fennel seed, lemon zest, chipotle & garlic
- rosemary, garlic, black pepper & bay
- Sichuan pepper, chipotle, coriander seed & cumin seed
While the pork chops are curing, place the pork skin in a pan half full with salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 mins, and then drain. Transfer the pork skin to some kitchen paper and dry well. Rub a few pinches of sea salt onto both sides of the skin, before laying flat on some greaseproof paper, just large enough to fold over the skin. Fold the paper over and place between two flat baking sheets. Place on the top shelf of an oven preheated to 230C and cook for about 15-20 mins or until the skin is golden and crackly. Check a couple times towards the end of the cooking time to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reserve until required.
Next, turn the heat down to low and add a good knob of butter to the pan. Begin to baste the chops with the browning butter using a metal spoon and by tilting the pan. Do this for about 4 mins, flipping every minute. This will help to develop the crust to a deeper golden brown. (Note: these timings will yield pork that is slightly pink in the middle i.e. medium. If you prefer it more done, continue to baste for an extra 2 mins for medium well, or 4 mins for well done.) Transfer to a dish to rest for 5 mins.
For the ultimate fried bread, toast some thick slices in the pan you've just cooked the pork in, turning so both sides go golden. Rest the pork on top as you're cooking, so any resting juices soak into the bread.
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Native breed pork chops available from The Butchery Ltd shop
in Forest Hill.