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Hi there! I am from South Africa and want to treat my fiance to a lovely dinner on Valentine's Day. He loves pork chops and crackling. Do you have any suggestions for something nice? Thanks
Posted by meriska. Answered on 6th Feb 2012 at 12.00
As you probably don't want to spend the whole of a Valentine's Day dinner over the stove we would suggest something quick and fairly easy, such as Nigella's Mustard Pork Chops from Nigella Express (p11, or see the link below). Unfortunately the fat and skin need to be removed so there isn't any crackling, but the piquant mustard sauce is a great match for the mild pork meat. When cooking pork chops you want to cook them fairly quickly and now if you like you can serve pork slightly pink (though not bloody - the USFDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145F/63c) so they needn't be dry.
If crackling is very important then slow roasted pork belly is a good option as although it takes a while to cook it can just sit in the oven and needs very little fuss. Nigella has a recipe in Kitchen (p466, or see link below) and although the recipe serves 6 to 8 the leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and used either in a paella or stir fried rice, or cut into cubes and reheated in a mixture of soy sauce, sake and mirin.
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