“Now THAT’S a pork chop!” was Tim’s first comment when I opened up the parcel from High Farndale. I had come across them on Twitter and they had been kind enough to send us some pork to try out at home.
The farm is in North Yorkshire (Kirkbymoorside), very close to where I grew up as a child, and is run by Peter Mawson and Nicola Frost. They produce pork, lamb and hogget (lambs are aged 0 to 12 months, hogget are 13 to 24 months and mutton is two years and older. Some refer to Hogget as ‘yearling lamb’ or ‘shearling’).
Their British Saddleback pigs are a native rare breed and they’re tough, sleeping outside in nests they build, often ignoring the accommodation provided by the farm. As such, the pork has a layer of fat that will keep your meat moist during cooking.
High Farndale sell their meat online in large quantities:
Quarter pig (15kg): a cut of the leg, a cut of the shoulder, a cut of the belly, eight chops and sausages. This costs £86.25 or £5.75 per kilo and can be collected from the farm, or packed up and couriered for £23.00.
Half Pig (30kg): similar to the above but obviously double in size, this costs £170, or £5.67 per kilo.
Sausages: These are made with a natural casing and a bit of bread to hold them together. £6.50 per kilo plus postage and packing.
Hogget: Available this month (May 2015), half hogget: £80, whole hogget: £150.
Lamb: A half lamb (11/12kg approx): £80, a whole lamb: £150
They take a lot of care in their packaging to make sure your meat gets to you in perfect condition. You can find out more about their packaging process here.
We cooked our pork chops using a Nigel Slater recipe – Pork Chops with Apple & Cider.
4 pork chops, good thick ones with lots of fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a good glug fruity olive oil
1 large onion, or 2 small ones, peeled, chopped
a couple of eating apples, each cut into 8 wedges, and at least 3 eating apples left whole
a few fresh sage leaves
a few juniper berries, squashed using the back of a knife
a good glass of dry cider (we just bought some Magners)
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Season the chops well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a large shallow ovenproof pan, heat the olive oil and fry the rind of each chop for a good head start to getting them crisp. Then lightly fry each side for a minute or so to get the outside crusty and golden brown, and remove from the pan. Add the onion to the same pan with the pork juices, and brown a little before adding in the apple wedges and sage leaves (add only a few as sage can overpower the dish) with the juniper berries.
Add the chops back into the pan, and nestle them among the apples and onions, along with the remaining whole apples. Pour over the cider, enough to just cover the ingredients, season to taste and place in the oven for about half an hour, or until the pork and apple are cooked.
Ready to serve! We served them up with some plain gnocchi to soak up the juices.
They were without a doubt, the tastiest pork chops we’ve ever cooked at home. They were definitely the biggest (they were huge!) and the layer of fat really locked the flavours in and made the chops really juicy, as I’ve found that pork chops can sometimes be a bit dry.
Buying meat in large quantities might be unfamiliar to some people, but I think it’s definitely worth considering – it works out at better value in the long run, and you’re buying much higher quality meat than one-off purchases from the supermarket. The only reason we haven’t really done this much in the past is because of the size of the freezer in the place we’re renting – it’s tiny! However, we’re in the process of buying somewhere bigger (where the size of the kitchen and fridge/freezer is key!) and this is absolutely something we’re going to be looking into!
I was given these pork chops for review purposes from High Farndale Farm but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.