This is a one pan dish with juicy pork chops nestled in a rich tomato sauce, topped with spinach and melting mozzarella cheese. The pork from Harris Meats is perfect for this, tasty and tender, free farmed locally.
I have used Kaikoura Cheese Company’s Tenara Goats cheese instead of mozzarella and it has worked really well. If you want to try a local mozzarella, I recommend Milkdrop from Nelson.
The recipe is for four people.
4 pork loin chops, skin removed but leave some fat
300 gms of spinach, tough stalks removed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ cup of white wine or chicken stock
1 x 400 gm tin of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 tablespoon of basil pesto
1 cup of grated mozzarella or fresh mozzarella torn
Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Put spinach in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water, turning the spinach so it is all wilted. Drain and refresh in cold water, then squeeze out all the excess liquid. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large oven proof saute pan. Season the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Don’t wash the pan!
Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook until soft. Pour in the wine or the stock and let it bubble for a couple of minutes then add in the tomatoes, the passata and the pesto. Simmer gently for ten minutes.
Return the pork chops to the pan, along with the meat juices that may have come out while the chops have been resting. Nestle the chops into the sauce and simmer for two minutes then top each one with the spinach and then the cheese. Place the pan under the grill until the cheese is golden and sizzling.
Serving recommendation: Serve with crispy sautéed potatoes.
Wine recommendation: A cabernet merlot blend or a straight merlot.