Pork, potato and apple bake
Pork chops are one of the best supermarket bargains. Pork is cheap anyway and many people are funny about bones which tends to make chops even better value. Once you’ve prepared the dish you just leave it to cook - no fiddling. It couldn’t be easier.
Time: 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Cost: £1.50-£2 a head
4 large, lean pork chops (about 800g in total)
2 tbsp vegetable oil + a little extra for greasing the baking dish
1 large onion (about 225g), peeled and thinly sliced
2 sticks of celery or half a bulb of fennel, trimmed and sliced (optional)
1 medium to large Bramley* apple (about 225g), peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
1 level tsp ground coriander (optional)
350ml (about 1 1/2 mugfuls) chicken or vegetable stock made with 1/2 a stock cube or 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
2 tbsp cider vinegar or wine vinegar
3 medium-large potatoes (about 450-500g), peeled and thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Pat the chops dry with kitchen towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan for a couple of minutes then add 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot fry the chops for about 2 minutes each side until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and add the onion, celery and apple, stir and fry for about 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the thyme and coriander, if using, season with pepper then poor in the stock and vinegar, stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer. Lightly grease a roasting tin and lay the potato slices across the bottom. Tip in about a third of the onion/apple mixture, lay the chops on top then spread over the remaining vegetables. Loosely cover the chops with foil and bake them for about 50-60 minutes depending how thick they are. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad or some lightly cooked green cabbage.
* It's worth using Bramley apples because they have a particularly good tart flavour and break down well in cooked dishes but you can use ordinary eating apples if you prefer.
* I haven't added extra salt because the salt cube or vegetable bouillon powder will probably be quite salty. and it's better not to include too much salt in your cooking. Add a little extra at table if you think it needs it.