I've been on a bit of a River Cottage kick recently, which started with the Baby and Toddler cookbook, and has progressed via the family cookbook to River Cottage Every Day, where I found a recipe for Overnight home-cured bacon chops.
I've been fairly adventurous in my cooking at times, but I'd never ventured into meat curing - it has always scared me, seemed a lot of hassle, with a high potential for food poisoning. However this recipe made it eminently possible and easy.
I thoroughly recommend giving it a go - some serious pork alchemy happens overnight in the fridge, and creates bacon-y, sweet, spiced, chops. I changed some of the seasonings, based on what I had to hand - so here is my version.
Overnight home-cured bacon chops (serves 4)
4 large pork chops (I used boneless ones)
2 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
50g fine sea salt (not table salt, sea salt is milder, sea salt will make it overpoweringly salty)
25g light muscovado sugar
4 dried bay leaves, crumbled
10 allspice berries
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
In a plastic tupperware box, combine the salt, sugar, bay leaves, allspice and pepper, put the lid on and give it a good shake to mix.
Add the pork, and lightly rub the salt mix in, before putting the lid on, and putting the box in the fridge.
Leave for at least 12 hrs, and not more than 24hrs.
If you remember, shake the box a couple of times, to distribute the cure.
After your time is up, take the chops out and rinse them well under running water, then pat dry with kitchen paper.
To cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the chops and cook for about 6 minutes on each side until they are done through.
I added a quartered apple and quartered plum to the pan for the last 5 mins or so of cooking, for a fruity touch. Mmmmm.