They’re playing Christmas carols in the supermarket but the holiday season doesn’t begin in my house until the third week of October when I celebrate my birthday. Then, the cooking and the partying go on until January when my younger daughter celebrates her birthday. I thought I’d start experimenting and practicing with party dishes. I saw Nigella Lawson on TV do a dish of fried pork chops, mustard and cream, served with dumplings. I decided my pork chops would have yogurt and cream cheese instead of cream and I’d serve them with pearl potatoes instead of dumplings.
Don’t let the appearance of the baked dish intimidate you. This is a very simple recipe. No cutting. Just pan frying, mixing, assembling and baking. But the result is truly gorgeous and more than good enough for a birthday party or a Christmas Eve or New Year’s eve dinner.
- 8 butterflied pork chops, about 2 kg. (you may use boned pork chops, lamp chops or even chicken)
4 tbsps. of butter
about 1-1/2 tbsp. of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (or about 1 tsp. of dried thyme)
1 kg. of pearl potatoes
1/4 c. of prepared mustard
2 c. of yogurt
1 c. of cream cheese (I used onion and chive flavored)
onion leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350oF.
Melt 2 tbsps. of butter in a non-stick pan. Over medium-high heat, pan fry the pork chops in batches. You are NOT cooking them through at this point. You just want to brown them a bit. Flip the chops over to brown the other side. I pan fried four chops per batch and added the rest of the butter to the pan before frying the last four chops.
Arrange the browned pork chops in two rows in a rectangular baking dish. Meat juices will ooze out because these are half-cooked chops but don”?t worry. Leave the juices alone in the baking pan, they”?ll serve their good purpose later.
Wash the pearl potatoes thoroughly.
I left some space between the two rows of pork chops for the potatoes and that’s where they went.
Sprinkle the pork and potatoes with salt (liberally, because potatoes absorb a lot of salt) and freshly ground pepper.
Scatter fresh thyme on top of the pork chops and potatoes.
To the drippings in the frying pan, pour in the mustard and a cup of yogurt. Stir until smooth.
Pour the mustard-yogurt mixture over the chops and potatoes.
Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake in a preheated 350oF oven for an hour and a half.
The pork chops and potatoes are good enough to eat when they come out of the oven. The meat juices have mixed with the yogurt and mustard with a hint of thyme but the dish isn”?t complete yet.
Take the tub of cream cheese. Scrape the contents into a bowl. Whip until light and smooth. Pour in the remaining cup of yogurt. Mix until smooth and no lumps remain.
Pour the yogurt-cream cheese mixture over the pork chops and potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for another 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and the yogurt-cream cheese mixture thins and spreads a bit.
Take the baking dish out of the oven and sprinkle the baked pork chops and potatoes with snipped onion leaves and serve.
The sauce is so good, it can be spooned over rice or mopped with bread. Your choice.
Cooking time (duration): about 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 8