Cheesy pork chops au gratin with creamy asparagus

Cheesy pork chops au gratin with creamy asparagus

And now, regular broadcasting will continue. And just to prove that I am not completely blinded by my animal love, and that I do understand the need for a balanced, humane and sustainable way of feeding this planet’s exploding population: A post on pork chops.

The adage that you should not judge a book by its cover is, in my humble opinion, completely inapplicable when it comes to food. Yes, I might quietly deduct a point from a restaurant’s score when they feel the need to advertise their food by using photos on their menu (thanks for ruining picture menu’s for me Gordon Ramsay – they’re the only way I know what I’m eating in China and now your Kitchen Nightmares rants have left me reeling as I wrestle with the restaurant photo-menu paradox: I should not be eating in a restaurant that puts photos of their food on their menu, but the only restaurant I can eat in without inadvertently ordering turtle soup with a soupçon of sea slug is a restaurant that puts photos of their food on their menu), but I will also seldom be persuaded to cook something unless it is accompanied by a photo to sell it to me. But I am going to ask you not to judge this dish by its cover. While it might look ugly to the point of being off putting, it is really, really good. In fact, Bush Man declared it the best thing he’s eaten in China – and we’ve been to Mr.& Mrs. Bund. And while it’s not exactly fine dining, and I suspect he was just trying to get into my pants, it does make for an exceptionally good and laughably easy family dinner.

If you found this post searching for “cooking with Chinese vegetables” then you probably think that asparagus is a shameful cop out. But I have included this recipe under that section, because not only is asparagus cheap and plentiful here, but they are really delicious. Tender and sweet with loads of asparagus flavour (as opposed to, you know, leek flavour, or Fresca maybe.) And in the supermarket they are as eye catching as hair vegetable or balsam pear, because they are freakishly long here, so you don’t feel like snapping off the tough end and tossing it away is such a waste. The secret to this dish is to use the best quality pork and asparagus you can find, because the flavour comes solely from these two ingredients.

Cheesy pork chops au gratin with creamy asparagus

Cheesy pork chops au gratin with creamy asparagus

Serves 4


Recipe type: Main


  • 4 large pork chops – rinds removed and reserved
  • a bunch of fresh, green asparagus, cleaned, chopped into 1 inch pieces and tough bits discarded
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10ml flour
  • 125ml cream
  • 200ml grated white cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • seasoning


  1. Season the chops and grill in the oven till just done. Use the smallest dish you can that will hold the chops and the asparagus sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the asparagus for two or three minutes until tender.
  3. Add the flour to the asparagus and stir to combine with butter. Cook for a further minute.
  4. Add the cream to the asparagus and stir until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. Pour any pan juices that might have collected from the chops into the sauce and stir.
  6. Pour the sauce over the chops, top with the cheese and grill until golden and bubbly.
  7. Season the pork rind and place under a hot grill till it goes crackly. Serve with the chops. Good with mash or hot chips!

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