Slow-cooked pork with beans & rice

This was a bit of an experiment with slow-cooking pork chops which turned out pretty well. I put the pork chops (7 in total) in a baking tray that fitted them snugly, and seasoned with some home-made native pepper salt. I then chopped half a bunch of spring onions, a capsicum and two tomatoes, along with a few garlic scapes (but crushed garlic would do at a pinch), added some capers and a couple of bay leaves, mixed it all together and topped the chops with the mix. I then covered the whole thing with foil, put it in the oven at 125C, and had a nap for an hour or so…

When I woke up, I roughly chopped some shallots and another garlic scape, sauteed them in olive oil in a liddable saucepan, then added some frozen broad beans from last year’s crop, and the chick pea sprouts from last week I hadn’t had a chance to cook with yet, along with (shock horror) a stock cube which I sliced up a bit to make it break down more easily. When all of the above was heated through, I added a generous knob of butter and a cup and a half of short-grain rice, coated the rice (and the rest) with the melted butter, and added three and a half cups of boiling water. I then brought it to the boil and turned it down as you’d normally do with the the absorption method. (This probably doesn’t sound super inspiring, but was actually just as delicious as the pork component!)

By this stage the pork chops had been in the oven for about two hours, so I pulled them out of the dish to rest, and reduced the liquid left behind (mostly water from the vegetables) with a small slosh of balsamic vinegar. Once the rice was cooked and the sauce had reduced, it was just a matter of plating up! The fat was tender and jelly-like (which is a bit at odds with our preoccupation with crispy pork skin, but is a prized texture in many parts of the world) and the meat was tender and juicy (with loads of flavour from the sauce ingredients), which can sometimes be an issue with pork chops.