Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potatoes

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potatoes 1

As I have told you here before, I eat a predominantly vegetable-based diet.  This has more to do with my preference for vegetables over meat, than any opposition to the killing and consumption of animals.  As long as humane practices are observed in the raising and killing of those animals, then I am not opposed to eating them.  I am also convinced that for most of us the consumption of some animal products - meat, fish, eggs and dairy products - are essential to maintain optimal health.  I know all the vegetarians and vegans out there would probably have a lot to say about that - say what you like - that is my belief (based on much research, reading and reflection, I might add) and I'm sticking to it.

Anyhow, I'm not about to turn this post into a lengthy dissertation on the rights-and-wrongs, pros-and-cons of eating anything - I'm just saying that I'm not that much of a meat-lover and I would happily sit down to a big bowl of vegetables or a beautiful bowl of salad, than a big, juicy steak, any night of the week.  I never think of vegetables or salads as side dishes - for me they are definitely the main event.

I've also got to tell you that, as long as pigs roam this earth, even if I wanted to I could never become a vegetarian.  As you already know, I think just about everything can be made a little better with bacon and, whilst that big, juicy steak might not excite me .... dangle a pork chop in front of me and I would willingly give up state secrets, absolutely no torture necessary.  You really need to know, up front, that if your life ever depends on my keeping schtum about something, you sure as heck better hope that my captors don't manage to come up with a pork chop!

I have a few favourite pork chop recipes that I love and frequently come back to.  The first is this recipe for Pistachio and Blue Corn Tortilla Crusted Pork Chops by The Enchanted Cook - I think this might have been the first recipe I discovered on Veronica's beautiful blog, and it was such a big hit around here that, not only have I made it several times since, but I have become a regular visitor at The Enchanted Cook - check it out, I'm sure you'll love it too.  Another favourite pork chop recipe that gets made often around these parts is this one from Nigella Lawson for Mustard Pork Chops with Gnocchi.

The recipe I'm sharing with you today, will definitely be added to that list of favourites, and I know I will be making it again many times over.  Potatoes are baked in a saffron and sage infused broth, while pork chops are baked on top of them allowing all that beautiful "piggy" flavour to permeate the potatoes.  The original recipe called for onions in here as well, but I used wedges of fennel instead, and added a few sage leaves - really, what goes better with pork than fennel and sage? - not much.  The original recipe is by Kate Nichols and comes from the November 2007 issue of Delicious magazine.

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potates Recipe
Adapted from recipe in
November 2007 issue of Delicious magazine
Serves 4
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

1kg potatoes (I used red ones, cut into quarters lengthwise)
2x fennel bulbs, halved (quartered if they are large)
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons boiling water
1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt & pepper

4x rashers streaky bacon, cut into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh sage leaves

4 pork chops
salt & pepper
extra sage for garnish

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Toss together the potato, fennel wedges, olive oil, saffron and its soaking liquid, and stock in a roasting pan.  Season well with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potatoes 4

Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat, and cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove from the pan, using a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over the top of the potatoes in the roasting pan.  Tuck a few sage leaves in amongst the vegetables.

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potatoes 3

Season the pork chops on both sides with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Using the same pan you cooked the bacon in, over high heat, sear the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Place the pork chops on top of the potato mixture, and bake until the pork is golden and the potatoes are tender - around 40 minutes.

Pork Chops with Saffron Baked Potatoes 2

Scatter a little extra fresh chopped sage over the top and serve.

I'm submitting this post to Magazine Mondays - mmmm, can't wait to see what else is cooking.  You can find last week's round-up here at "Cream Puffs in Venice".


I'm also submitting this post to the Hearth and Soul blog hop, a place where you'll find lots of wonderful people who are passionate about great food and cooking from the heart - do go and have a look at what they're all cooking this week.


  1. have me drooling, It surely is their porcine destiny to keep my family pleased. Love bacon and chops....the humble pig, so good!

  2. Ha ha, u know i turn into a vegetarian sometimes , not for any reason ud think but for a reason i cant say here:-) not to be posted on a foodie blog :-)
    THis looks soooo deliciously yummmyyy and good!
    Loving it!\
    Happy weekend and thannnxxx a ton for all ur votes!

  3. Tina Marie - clearly we are soul sisters :-)

  4. Mia - thanks so much, you know you have me totally intrigued now :-)

  5. it looks delicious! I'm taking my fork and I'm coming!!!! :P :D

  6. This is my kind of pork chop recipe!!! I love when they bake on top of potatoes!

  7. Oh look at the color of potato. It's so beautiful and sounds delicious. I will give this recipe a swirl in my kitchen soon :)

  8. Eatgreek - I'll set a place for you :-) Actually, this dish reminds me of similar dishes I ate while holidaying in Greece, though usually with lamb or chicken.

    Pam - thanks - I had never actually cooked them this way before, but will definitely do so again.

    Tes - the saffron does give everything a beautiful colour, and that lovely earthy flavour as well. Hope you enjoy it.

    Sue :-)

  9. Sue,
    pork chops are my family's favorite meat - I can just tell we would love this dish - I love potatoes and the bacon and fennel sound yummy, I will make mine with onions too, because I love onions =-] I am going to dig through the freezer to see if I have any pork chops in there to make this. (thanks a bit early for linking this to the hearth and soul hop!)

  10. Growing up with a vegetarian Dad long before it was ever a thought on people's radar I find that I am leaning more and more towards a veggie based diet as well. But I do love a good piece of pork, chicken or fish once every few weeks.

  11. Saffron and Sage - my all time two favorite spices.. the potatoes look amazing!

  12. saffron baked potatoes sounds luscious :)

  13. Hi Sue, I have some saffron on my spice rack, have not used it as yet. What would you recommend as a first recipe? It seems to have a strong smell and is a deep redish color. Thanks for the info! I am with you regarding pork, and the fat that browns around the outside of a chop, it is my favorite!

  14. Oh Sue Bee! This just looks like heaven to me. It's different from anything that my mind would put together, but such a lovely combo. I'm with Christy, gonna go dig around my freezer and see if I can find some pork chops. Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop. Good to know how to get state secrets out you, too!

  15. Christy - I hope you enjoy it - I'm sure the onions would be good in there if you're onion lovers.

    Valli - thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. Hard to beat a good pork chop every so often :-)

    Thanks Toby, and thanks for visiting.

    Thanks Ananda :-)

    Hi Melynda - the first recipe I ever used saffron in I think was risotto and I think that would be a good place to start. In order to use it, you need to infuse the saffron threads in a little bit of warm liquid first in order to release their colour and flavour. So if you are making risotto, you can do this directly in the hot stock. The pork chop recipe was a good example of one in which the saffron was soaked in a little warm liquid first, then added to the stock before pouring over the potatoes. Here is another recipe I've posted where saffron in used in a yoghurt dressing, in this case served with aubergine, but could be served with all sorts of things I also use it in things like paella and the saffron rice featured in this post Although the strands have a deep reddish colour, they will turn the liquid that you add them to yellow, but the individual red strands will remain visible in the liquid. It does have quite a strong smell, and will add an "earthy" flavour to your dish - beware of adding too much or you'll end up trying to eat something that smells and tastes like old socks. A good pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon of strands) is generally enough. Hope that all makes sense - let me know if you have any more questions about it, and hope you try it soon. You are so right about the fat on the pork chop - in fact the chop is really just the vehicle for the fat :-)

    Hey Butter - thanks so much - hope you enjoy it. I'd be totally useless as a "spook" :-)


  16. Hi Sue - I just wanted to thank you again for sharing this yummy recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop. I'll be featuring it among my Best of the Blog Hop this week :)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you and your comments are like gold to me. Your comment will be visible as soon as it has been approved.