Sticky pork chops with mascarpone polenta

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 - pork loin or rib chops
  • 15ml - wholegrain mustard
  • 8 - sage leaves
  • 15ml - maple syrup or honey
  • - CREAMY POLENTA
  • 500ml - chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250ml - milk
  • 250ml - quick-cooking polenta
  • 60ml - mascarpone
Method

1. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, trim the rind off the chops, as well as any excess fat, so just a 1cm layer of fat remains. Cut the trimmed-off fat, as well as the rind, into cubes.

2. Heat a pan and slowly render the fat from the cubes until there’s a good amount of fat in the pan. Fry the diced rind until crispy; season with a generous pinch of sea salt. Remove the rind from the pan but retain the fat.

3. Rub the meat on both sides with the mustard and press a sage leaf onto each side on the widest part of the meat. Fry the fat side of the chops first (hold upright with tongs) until the fat has browned nicely; repeat on the bone side. Fry the chops on the flat sides; 2 minutes per side. Press the chops down with a spatula to prevent them from curling while the meat browns. Continue frying, turning as needed for a total cooking time of about 8 minutes. Brush the syrup over the meat and fry for another minute or two until sticky. Use your judgment and let the thickness of your chops determine the cooking time. Lift the meat out and let it rest while you make the polenta.

4. Bring the stock and milk to the boil and beat in the polenta with a balloon whisk (this helps to prevent the polenta from becoming lumpy). Reduce the heat to low as soon as it starts to boil, put the lid on and steam for about 5–10 minutes or until cooked. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Brands differ – check the instructions on the packet (and taste!) for the right cooking time.

5. Once the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, it is ready. You’re aiming for a soft porridge-like consistency with a creamy texture. If it looks too thick, beat in a little warm milk until the texture is just right. Stir in the mascarpone and remove from the heat. Spoon the hot polenta onto plates, top with the sticky chops and serve with some greens.

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