An easy one-tray dinner that you can prepare the night before

This one-tray bake is sure to cut the mustard

Pork chops with sage and apple.

Pork chops with sage and apple.

 

It’s time to embrace more autumnal flavours such as apple, root vegetables and hardy herbs like sage and rosemary. This one-tray dinner is easy to prepare the night before you want to eat it, or in the morning, then it can be stored in the fridge.

With the back-to-school rush, I’m all about convenience, but that’s no reason to resort to readymade or junk food. This dinner is real fast food and made from scratch, with ingredients we all know. 

Irish organic company Bunalun now produces two mustards, both made in France. The Dijon mustard is an essential condiment for me as I add it to salad dressings, white sauces and anything that needs a umami kick with heat. I bought the wholegrain one too. Made with cider vinegar, it still has quite a creamy texture, and is flecked with mustard seeds. I love spreading the Dijon one onto mackerel fillets and grilling them. Served with boiled new potatoes, it makes a really simple but delicious dinner.

Mustard is great with pork and balances out the sweetness of the apple nicely in this recipe. I don’t usually choose pork, especially not chops. It can often be bland, but the upside is that it can handle any flavour you want to serve it with.

If you manage to get some really good-quality pork, ideally from a small producer like Woodside Farm in Cork, the difference is huge. The taste and texture of the meat is amazing. Cheap, mass-produced pork can’t possibly taste as good as a free roaming pig that spends its life rummaging around a field. I’d much rather have good meat once or twice than feast on cheap meat all through the week. It’s better for us and, of course, better for the animals themselves. 

This one-tray dinner is perfect as is, but can be served with green beans, broccoli or spinach to bring even more vegetables to the table.

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PORK CHOPS WITH SAGE AND APPLE

Serves 4

Ingredients

600g small baby potatoes, scrubbed clean
300g carrots, peeled and chopped chunkily
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp wholegrain mustard
2tbsp honey 
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2 apples, cored and cut into six wedges
4 thick pork chops
8-10 sage leaves

Method

1 Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius, or equivalent.

2 Parboil the potatoes and carrots in a pan of boiling water for about eight minutes. Drain them well, then tip them into a large roasting tray that has been drizzled with a little olive oil.

3 Stir the olive oil, mustard and honey in a small bowl till smooth. Pour half the mixture over the potatoes and carrots. Season with salt and black pepper.

4 Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.

5 Meanwhile, place a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Drizzle the chops with a little oil and season with salt. Fry for one or two minutes on each side to brown the fat. Set the meat aside and remove the tray from the oven. 

6 Crush the potatoes slightly to flatten them. Add the apple and onion wedges to the tray among the vegetables, and scatter with a few sage leaves. Top with the pork chops then drizzle over the remaining honey and mustard mix.

7 Return the tray to the oven and roast for a further 20 minutes until the vegetables and apples are tender and the chops are cooked through. Serve right away.

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