The inspiration for my Spanish Pork Chop with Cauliflower dish comes unusually from a new cookery book I got my hands on, I have loads of cook books and rarely look at them and to be honest rarely buy them… However people know I love food so cookery books have become an easy to buy gift for folk to buy me, it really is not the way I cook or work on dishes but I like to flick through and on occasions when I am stuck in a rut they provide a nice pick me up. This book however is a rarity, Barrafina: A Spanish Cookbook is one I bought myself and features a cuisine I know very little about so bought it as a a starting point as it did not seem to be the usual tirade of stereotypical dishes but well thought out delicious sounding food. Any I will move on, I don’t want this to become a book review, I have cooked from it a few times got good results, fill your boots and hunt it down.
Just like the Hungarians the Spanish produce spectacular pork and paprika so there are natural crossovers in some of the cuisine which is where my thought process in looking at Spanish food started and the Spanish Pork Chop features just about the best meat I can buy locally and my favourite vegetable at this time of year, cauliflower. Whilst I have stuck pretty closely to the recipe for the Spanish Pork Chop I have deviated more than a little from the original recipe when it comes to the cauliflower accompaniment to this dish. Cauliflower is definitely my favourite vegetable at this time of year but a single cauliflower often too big for a meal for two unless you are cooking a cauliflower soup.
So to accompany my Spanish Pork Chop I decided to go full on Cauliflower and take a whole small cauliflower and go to town using it all to create a cauli Smörgåsbord. Using the flavours in the pork marinade I created three distinct side dishes that all have a different flavour and texture but still all cauliflower. Anything that reduces waste is good for me and as far as I am concerned you cannot have too much cauliflower.
In other news I must report that it is hexmas, it must be we have our tree up and everything and courtesy of fearless stunt wifey I am now the ‘proud’ owner of the dreaded ‘Christmas Jumper’, you never know photographic evidence may appear if I consume enough mulled wine. I am sure I sound like a real scrooge, I’m not really, I love Christmas… I just like it, you know, at Christmas. I have been barraged with Christmas messages since the start of November and my social media food feed has hardly taken a break on ‘seasonally appropriate’ food since the end of August when ‘Halloween’ recipes first appeared. Let’s face it these recipes are not seasonally appropriate, they are all about leveraging Google to hunt down what is in the main ‘gimmick’ food. You may be dismayed or delighted to know I hate stereotypical ‘holiday’ food, if what we ate at Christmas was so great we would eat it all year round, we don’t because it is all a bit of a faff for something really rather underwhelming. So expect more of the same from me, dishes like this Spanish Pork Chop with Cauliflower is just what I like to eat and I’ll be buggered if I should eat or write about something I really don’t want to eat just because it is Christmas.
This delicious Spanish Pork Chop is joined by a cacophony of cauliflower and some chorizo sausage, a glorious autumnal treat.
2Large Pork Chops.3cm Thick approx 300g.
1/2TspCoarse Sea Salt.
1Small Cauliflower.About 500g.
1TspGround Cumin.In addition to that for the marinade.
25gButter.In addition to that for the puree.
1/2TspCoarse Sea Salt.
50gChorizo.Cut into a 5mm dice.
Place the pork chops in a bag with the cumin, paprika (sweet and spicy), oregano, thyme bay leaves, salt and oil, then allow to marinade for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
Remove the outer leaves and the toughest part of the stalk by cutting out a cone in the base, everything should then pull away.
The systematically work around the cauliflower with a paring knife cutting the florets as you go, you will be left with a load of florets of varying sizes and a piece of stalk.
Begin by setting aside two of the largest florets for later.
Now take slices from the centre of some of the other florets so that you end up with 6 slices of cauliflower 3-4mm thick that look like a tree in silhouette and set these aside.
Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower and chop the stalk fairly finely.
Steam the roughly chopped cauliflower until very soft, we will be turning this into a puree so take it further than you normally would, roughly around 20 minutes, you can boil this if you would rather not steam but I find steaming retains more flavour.
When the cauliflower has steamed blend this with the butter and additional cumin and salt to taste to form a silky smooth puree, this can be made in advance and heated over a medium heat just before serving.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Heat an oven proof griddle pan or frying pan over a fairly high heat on the stove top and sear both sides of the pork chop until you have got a nice colour, then transfer to the oven and cook until an internal temperature of 60°C is reached which should take between 10 & 15 minutes.
Now heat the 150ml milk, 25g butter, 2 garlic cloves and sea salt in a pan until it simmers and 5 minutes after the chop has gone in add the two large cauliflower florets and allow to gently poach for 10 minutes.
By now the pork should be good to come out of the oven so set it aside to rest.
Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry off the chorizo sausage for 2 minutes and then add the cauliflower slices and fry for a further 3 minutes, flipping half way. Whilst heating the puree.
Stick it all on a plate and enjoy.
I've gone cauli crazy with the sides for this but the pork will work awesomely with all sorts of seasonal vegetables.
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