AUTUMN HARVEST AT THE GARDEN KITCHEN

 

The beginning of Autumn heralds the start of a new eating season. In the gardens at The Beacon, we still have a few tomatoes, chillis and chard left but will soon be welcoming squash and gourds in all shapes and sizes, new season onions and shallots and mushrooms on to the menus.

September is the start of Britain’s apple harvest, with each variety bringing its own nuances of colour, texture and of course, flavour. Whether it’s the sharp fluffiness of the bramley or the crisp juiciness of lesser known early season varieties such as estivale, all lend them themselves to countless uses, savoury and sweet. There’s the cox, with its distinctive red and green ruddy skin, honey-like aroma and rich aromatic flavour; the nutty and sweet russet or the ruben apple with its sweet flavour and hint of lemon. English eating apples are so juicy and delicious, it’s almost a shame to cook with them. Try raw in salads, with crab or scallops, perhaps, or with fennel and salty blue cheese.

And of course, the brambles all around the lanes and common surrounding the restaurant are teaming with ripe and plump little blackberries. The berry that launched numerous crumbles, pies and puddings can also be used in a savoury context. Combined with vinegar they make a deliciously fruity alternative to balsamic. Try Executive Chef Scott Goss’ recipe for pork chop, black pudding crumble and pickled blackberries this weekend.

This is a hearty, family style dish with big flavours. Add a bowl of buttery mash and greens and it’s a delicious and slightly different take on a classic Sunday roast. Happy eating.

Pork chop, black pudding crumble and pickled blackberries
Serves 2 (but can be easily scaled up)
2 bone-in pork chops, roughly 300g each. Ask your butcher to remove the skin
100g black pudding, cubed
75g cobnuts (or hazelnuts), roasted, skinned and roughly chopped
50g pumpkin seeds
5 or 6 large sage leaves
2 tablespoons black treacle
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
75g blackberries
50ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar
4 shallots, skin on, halved lengthways
300 ml cider
Tablespoon butter

Method

– The night before, or 24 hours in advance, mix the blackberries and cabernet sauvignon vinegar together and leave to pickle.

– Rub the skin for the crackling in rapeseed oil and salt and blister in a hot oven at 210 degrees for 20 mins. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees for a further 2 hours.

– When ready to eat, season the chops and fry in a hot pan until golden brown on both sides. Put in the oven at 160 degrees for 12 minutes for medium.

– Mix the black treacle and wholegrain mustard together and spread on the chops while still hot from the oven. Rest for 10 mins.

– For a simple gravy, deglaze the roasting tray and meat juices with the cider and reduce by two thirds and finish with a tablespoon of butter. Check seasoning and keep warm.

– Leaving the skin on, cut the shallot in half lengthways. In a non-stick pan with a little rapeseed oil, char the cut side of the shallot until blackened. Flip over and cook for a further minute. Turn off the heat and let the shallot cook in the residual pan heat.

– Chop or crumble the black pudding and fry in a little rapeseed oil in a hot pan until crispy. Add the chopped cobnuts or hazelnuts and the pumpkin seeds to lightly toast. Tear in the sage leaves, crisping in the black pudding oil for a further minute.

To plate

Pile the black pudding crumble on top of the black treacle chop with the crackling, roast shallot and pickled blackberries on the side and a spoonful of cider roasting juices. Serve with greens and cabbage and mashed or roast potatoes.


 
The BeaconSteven Li