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Cooking Mustard Pork Chops

Asked by Markai. Answered on 29th October 2016

Full question

I made the Mustard Pork Chops but I have some questions as the pork chops came out very tough. Do you have any tips on cooking them? I interpreted "moderately high" heat for frying as 375 degrees fahrenheit in an electric fry pan and instead of apple cider I used sparkling apple juice, non-alcoholic. Is this all right?

Our answer

For Nigella's Mustard Pork Chops (from NIGELLA EXPRESS) the pork chops are flattened slightly then quickly cooked in a frying pan. They are accompanied by a simple pan sauce made from (hard) cider and double (heavy) cream. There are a couple of reasons why the chops are tough. The first is the cut of meat used as pork chops can be from different parts of the pig. We would suggest trying to find boneless pork chops called rib chops or loin rib chops that come from the central rib section, as this is usually a tender cut of meat. Chops from the shoulder (blade) or from further along the loin section (labelled as loin or sirloin) contain more connective tissue and will be tougher when cooked.

Second, pork will be tough if it is overcooked. You need a moderately high heat on the frying pan so that a good colour develops on the meat before it is cooked through. We don't have experience of electric frying pans but 375F (190c) sounds appropriate. You may need to adjust the cooking time a little depending on how thick the chops are as thinner chops will cook more quickly. The timing given is for chops that are approximately 1cm (1/2-3/4 inch) thick but if you have beaten the chops to a thin escalope then they will only need about 3 minutes per side. Also the FDA now suggests that whole cuts or pork (such as chops) can be cooked until still slightly pink in the centre (but not raw - the minimum internal temperature should be 145F) so you don't need to cook the chops until they are white all the way through, easpecially as they will continue to cook a little as they rest on the plates. An apple juice can be used instead of cider, but as cider is usually dry and apple juice is usually sweet then you may want to add a squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce to balance the sweetness of apple juice.

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