Chops are, of course, what QCH was originally designed to serve in the 1800s, to give the factory workers of Clerkenwell a hot meat lunch. Whether those Victorian chops were as quality as the restaurant claimed is debatable. Today, at least, we think our chops definitely live up to our name. It’s the thickness rather than the weight of a pork chop that is most important; a chop that is too thin, such as you might find on a supermarket shelf, will overcook.
Preheat the oven to 90°C. Use a sharp knife to remove the rind from the pork chop but leave on the thick layer of fat – you’ll be rendering it down and the resulting hot fat means you can caramelise the meat perfectly.
Score the fat. Place a dry frying pan over a low heat and lay the chop in the pan, fat-side down, to render for 10 minutes. You should end up with a good centimetre of cooked fat on the chop, as well as about a centimetre of hot pork fat in the pan. Increase to a medium-high heat. Lay the chop sideways in the pan and cook it for 2 minutes on each side; you want to turn the chop 4 times in total – so, cook one side for 1 minute, turn, cook the other side for 1 minute, turn and repeat. You should have a deep, caramelised crust on both sides after these 4 turns.
Remove from the heat and take it out of the pan. Rest for 3–4 minutes, then pop it into the preheated oven to cook for 10–15 minutes.
Rest for another 10 minutes and serve. It will cut like butter and eat like butter – and the fat will be insanely delicious.
Extracted from The Quality Chop House cookbook. Photo courtesy od Andrew Montgomery