92. Pork chops with spiced lentils


For the pork:
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
8-9 Black peppercorns
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 knob of root ginger, grated
1 tbsp ground turmeric
Olive oil
4 thick-cut pork chops

For the spiced lentils
50g unsalted Butter
1 tsp each ground coriander, turmeric and cumin
1 small knob fresh root ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, left whole
1 fresh red chilli, diced
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1 stick Celery, finely diced
200g dried Puy or Umbrian Lentils

To serve:
sautéed Spinach
crème fraîche or Soured cream


1. For the pork: preheat the oven to 140C/gas 1. Heat a small, heavy pan, add the coriander seeds and dry-fry (without oil), tossing often until starting to colour. Remove and crush finely, along with the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar. Mix in the garlic, ginger, turmeric and enough oil to make a stiffish paste.

2. Using a sharp knife, score the meat in a diamond pattern, making deep incisions into the flesh. Rub the marinade thoroughly all over the meat and into the cuts.

3. Heat a large heavy, non-stick pan, add the chops and fry for about 10-12 minutes, turning once. Put in a dish, cover and keep warm in the oven.

4. For the lentils: melt the butter in a frying pan and when foaming, add the ground spices and fry briefly to extract all their flavour. Toss in the ginger, garlic and chilli. Keep an eye on the pan to ensure the spices do not burn. Throw in the onion and celery and stir-fry for 5 minutes until softened and turning golden. Add the lentils and fry them in the mix for a few minutes. Pour in enough water to cover the lentils and simmer for 15-20 minutes until just cooked, adding a little more water if necessary. The lentils should retain their bite. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Remove the chops from the oven and serve with the spiced lentils, sautéed spinach and a dollop of crème fraîche or soured cream.