Grilled Pork, Fennel and Apples
Tired of your old grilled pork? Why not spice it up with some apples and fennel but have you ever wondered why this fruit is associated with this meat? Let’s start even before the pork is cooked, during the old days’ pigs were left to graze in apple orchards where they eat any fruits that drops to the ground, though this may not flavour the whole meat but there will be some subtle difference, just try an apple orchard grazed pig to something that is not, you will definitely taste the difference.
Humans have been pairing this two together for centuries even before sugar made its way for mass consumption. As all of us know that sweet and savoury is such a good combination, even our ancestors knew this formula hence apples were used to add a touch of sweetness to the savoury pork in the absence of sugar. To add to this apples ripen during the autumn season, traditionally this is also the time for culling surplus stock like pigs since they are highly preservable and made into the cold cuts we know off like sausages, bacon and ham. The non preservable ones are obviously cooked with the fruit of the season.
Moving on the future, this combination proved to be good hence a several traditional pork dishes call for sliced apples or even apple sauce, even in Philippines where apple does not grow they associate it with their lechons where a whole fruit is stuffed into the pork’s mouth after roasting it whole. Today we will be using this two together in addition we will be adding some fennel to give it some aniseedy aroma and flavour.
- 4 thick cut pork shoulder chops
- 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and thickly sliced
- 2 small red onions, cut into wedges
- 1 red apple, cored and cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, whole
- 3 tbsp butter
- olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a bowl toss and combine together fennel, onion, apple, vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil and rosemary. Place in a baking dish then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in a 200C preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Season pork with salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in an oven proof frying pan add the garlic, cook garlic until is light brown, remove and discard the garlic.
- Place pork chops into the pan then brown both sides over very high heat, this will take 2 minutes on each side.
- Remove the vegetables in the oven, put the pork chops into the oven then roast for 5 more minutes.
- While pork is cooking toss spinach into the cooked vegetables to wilt it. Place in serving plates.
- Remove pan from the oven then add the butter, let it melt and pour it over the pork chops. Place pork chops on top of vegetables then serve.