Quick pork chops with a tomato, chorizo & olive relish

Spanish pork chops title © J Horak-Druiff 2012


There are some food-related questions that are always really easy to answer – things like “wine or beer?” (wine); “plain or salted?” (salted); with or “without whipped cream?” (with!); or “chocolate or vanilla?” (chocolate, always chocolate!).  But then there are a couple of foodie questions that I am regularly asked that make my throat close up and my palms become sweaty.  Questions for which people somehow expect me to have a ready, rehearsed answer. Questions that make everyone in the room turn to me expectantly, awaiting an answer upon which I suspect my credibility as a food blogger depends (no pressure!).  Things like “What’s your favourite restaurant?”.  The answer depends on so many variables and parameters: does it still have to be open or can it be a distant memory; does it have to be a place I could go regularly or a fabulous one-off experience; and most importantly, when you are really hungry, a burger in a paper bag constitutes a far better meal than a chanterelle veloute with truffle crumbs – but does it make the burget joint the better restaurant? Another one is “what’s your favourite cuisine?”. Again, it depends – and in any event, can you really in any meaningful way compare the attributes of such disparate national delicacies as Spanish Jamon, Italian pizza, French tartiflette; Chinese dim sum and Brazilian feijoada?


Spanish pork chop Alma wine © J Horak-Druiff 2012


And then there is the other favourite question: “What sort of food do you mostly cook?”.  I always feel totally stumped by this question and an embarrassing, silent pause usually ensues, during which the questioner starts eyeing me in a way that says “what sort of cook are you if you can’t even tell me what you cook?”. But the thing is that I don’t think my cooking falls into any neat category – I can’t honestly say I cook mostly South African/Indian/Japanese/Italian/whatever. When I have friends round, I am as likely to make a South African themed meal as a Greek or Italian themed meal – it depends on where I’ve been travelling lately, who the guests are, the weather, and my mood.  And when it is just me and Mr Cooksister, there most certanly are nights that I get home exhausted after work and make frozen fish and chips to be consumed in front of the TV (gasp!) – I am assuming that people don’t really want to hear about that!  In fact, if I had to pick a unifying theme for my cooking in general it would have to be “simplicity”. Maybe this indicates some fundamental lack of ambition as a “real” cook, but the bottom line is that I do not like making faffy, fiddly things (hence my limited appetite for baking!) and my primary audience, Mr Cooksister, does not like to eat them.  I also have a full-time job, and (ahem) a blog that threatens to consume my life; my time for fussing over food is limited. So the things on permanent rotation in our house are sausages and mash; risottos of every flavour, oven baked fish, stir-fries, curries, stews, soups, roasts and quiches: simple things that you can pack full of flavours and smarten up for guests, but that don’t take all evening to prepare.

Pork chops are some of the things that I love to cook on a weeknight because they are just so quick and easy to pan-fry and can be livened up with any sauce you choose.  This particular pork chop recipe was devised to match a wine from something called the Oddbins Bloggers’ Case.  Wine merchant Oddbins has teamed up with six of the UK’s finest wine bloggers (including my friends AndrewTaraDavid and Paola) and gave them free rein to run rampant around the Oddbins cellars selecting their favourite wines for an exclusive twelve bottle case. Twelve great wines independently chosen by six of the most talented wine writers in the business straight from Oddbins’ shelves: what better endorsement could you ask for? Priced at a budget-friendly £98 for 12 bottles, there is something in there to suit everybody – including the Alma de Tinto Mencia 2010 (Galacia) selected by Andrew.  The grape (Mencia) is a rare Spanish variety not often found outside this area and the wines it makes have heady aromas of dark brambles – but the wine itself is medium-bodied with supple tannins and ripe red fruits.  It’s absolutely delicious on its own, but its lighter body makes it a versatile food partner too.  I decided to keep the meat light and use pork, but to add a Spanish touch with the use of chorizo and olives in the relish, which really emphasising the sweet fruit flavours of the wine.  Was it a good match?  Now there’s a quiestion I have no difficulty with at all: a resounding yes!


Spanish pork chop final © J Horak-Druiff 2012


DISCLOSURE: I received the bottle of Alma wine for free but received no payment for this post and all opinions are my own.


Quick pork chops with a tomato, chorizo & olive relish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This quick weeknight dinner is easy to make but packed with flavour
Recipe type: easy, pork, main, entree
Serves: 2
  • 2 pork chops, fairly thin and  boneless
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • about 50g chorizo, diced
  • 250g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 12 pitted black olives, sliced
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Start by making the relish.  Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a wide saucepan.  Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and chorizo.  Fry over medium heat until the chorizo has yielded some of its bright orange fat and the onions are translucent and soft but not browned.  Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly, then add the olives and oregano. When the olives are heated through, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Keep the relish warm.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and season the pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper and the smoked paprika. When the oil is hot, caefully place the pork chops flat into the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for a further 3 minutes or so. Check that the meat is done, then serve topped with the tomato relish and a glass of fruity red wine.

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  1. says

    Ah yes.. The questions people ask… Because I blog about food people do expect that I cook brilliant meals 7 days a week, never have a failure in the kitchen (hahaha) and certainly do not order take away. Well… Even food bloggers are human.. Lol. And I never know how to answer that question either on what’s your favorite dish/cuisine. I don’t have one! What I do kow is that I love these pork chops… And paired with that beautiful relish… Now that’s a perfect meal!

  2. says

    I had to laugh out loud — I get those questions to and feel the same way! I am actually a really simple person and sometimes I think, because I’m a food blogger, people expect me to have very sophisticated tastes…which I don’t really. And I have too many favorites I can never choose just one! Well, this pork chops look like a winner in my book!

  3. says

    I guess people think because we are food bloggers, writers, photographers we are cooking elaborate meals 24/7 – like Simone said we are humans too. I get stuck on all the same questions but if I were asked if I wanted to try this incredible pork dish – I know what i would say .. YES! Miss you borg sister!

  4. says

    What a relief that you too (sometimes) make ovenbake fish and chips in the oven. Oh the pressure when people hear that you’re a food blogger and expect that you’re setting things alight on the stove every night. There is often nothing better after a long day (at your day job) than sitting down with a piece of toast thickly smeared with peanut butter and a cup of tea for supper. Obviously I’d never blog about that, not because I am ashamed but simply because no one needs to be taught how to make toast 😉

  5. says

    Yes the questions. For years when I worked in restaurants people would ask me what cuisine I “specialized” in…. what ?. It is very embarrassing to be put on the spot like that. Imagine if you asked a doctor what his favourite disease was or a mechanic what his favourite repair job was …. Yes silly