One of my all-time favorite, “dinner in a hurry” meals is this recipe for mustard pork chops and gnocchi from my Nigella Express cook book. It couldn’t be quicker, and it’s a comforting new take on the classic duo of pork and apples. There are only 5 ingredients (6 if you count the gnocchi) but in less than half an hour you’ll have a bistro-worthy meal on the table.
To start, you’ll need pork chops. The recipe calls for 2 pork chops totalling 1 pound in weight, but I doubled the recipe because I love leftovers. Nigella also uses garlic oil in many of her recipes in the Express book, and I keep meaning to buy it but never do. So I minced up some garlic.
You’ll also need whole grain mustard, heavy cream and hard cider. Woodchuck is commonly available and it’s fine, but I prefer Strongbow cider. It was my drink of choice when I was a twenty year old living at the posh but creepy-sounding Manson Place in South Kensington, and a sip of its tart apple depths transports me back to a dimly lit pub and British people who invariably thought my name was Jane.
Whatever cider you use, this recipe is all sweet simplicity. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, and cook and drain the gnocchi. Heat the garlic oil in a pan, and fry your pork chops until done (approximately 5 minutes per side if you pound them thin per Nigella’s instructions. Mine took a little longer because I didn’t.) Remove them to a warmed plate. Next, deglaze the pan of its glorious porcine fond by adding the cider. Let it bubble away for a minute after you’ve scraped up all of that crispy brown flavor. Add the heavy cream and whole grain mustard, stirring to combine, and let the sauce cook for a few minutes. Put the cooked gnocchi in the pan with the sauce and give it a few stirs to coat it thoroughly. Serve nestled next to a pork chop and ladle a little grainy, apple scented sauce. Green salad is a nice tip of the hat to health and wouldn’t be amiss.
As delicious as the pork chops are, it’s the gnocchi saturated in cream and cider with the sweet heat of mustard that I keep compulsively popping into my mouth long after I’m full. Try this after-work quickie soon. You won’t be disappointed.