Pork and prunes is a classic French meat/fruit combination and I love it. Not everyone likes fruit with meat, but it is something that people at least ought to try once. Pork can be dry and the prunes offer some much-needed moisture and succulence.
There are many recipes for this, Elizabeth David has a great one in her classic “French Provincial Cooking“, but the important thing is to make sure that your prunes are soft by soaking them in alcohol first. Elizabeth David’s recipe uses medallions cut from a pork tenderloin and has redcurrant jelly too, but mine is simpler, and more inspired by the food of south-western France than the Loire valley.
The best prunes for this are Pruneau d’Agen from down in the south-west, but any will do.
1 thick pork chop per person (rind removed)
5 or 6 prunes per person, soaked in Armagnac or other brandy
2-3 crush cloves of garlic
2-3 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
a large glass of dry white wine (250ml)
a tub of crème fraiche
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Put the crushed garlic and thyme in an oven-proof dish. Place the seasoned pork chops on top and add the prunes, Armagnac and wine. dot each chop with some butter.
Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes. baste frequently.
Remove the dish and pour off the juices into a saucepan. Reduce this and stir in the crème fraiche to make a smooth sauce.
Serve with steamed spinach and carrots cooked in butter, and with the sauce poured over the top of the pork.