Donal Skehan is a home cook, food writer and television presenter who has written five cookbooks. He presents the TV show Kitchen Hero on RTÉ One in Ireland, Grandma's Boy on FOX International and is a judge on BBC's Junior MasterChef. Check out Donal's facebook, twitter and website and make sure to subscribe to his youtube channel for more culinary tips, recipes and food travels.

Sweet maple syrup, tangy vinegar and salty soy sauce with a kick of freshness from coriander really make for an extra special pork chop in this recipe. I particularly love serving them with griddled Baby Gem lettuce (a trick I picked up in America), which turns this humble salad green into something smoky, meaty and fresh.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoonrapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing

4 large pork loin chops on the bone, 2.5cm thick

Sea salt and ground black pepper

1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

4 tablespoon apple juice

6 Baby Gem lettuce, cut in half lengthways

Large handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish

5 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, Gas Mark 5. Melt the butter with the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Pat the pork chops dry with a little kitchen paper and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Add the chops to the pan and brown on both sides.

  2. When the meat has a good colour, add the onion and fry for about 30 seconds. Then pour in the vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce and apple juice and heat until the sauce is bubbling. Baste the meat well with the sauce and then place the pan in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 10 minutes.

  3. While the pork chops are cooking, place a large griddle pan over a high heat and brush the lettuce halves all over with a little of the oil, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Place the lettuce halves onto the griddle and cook for about 2 minutes on either side until they have nice deep char marks but still hold their shape. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. When the chops are cooked, transfer to a warmed plate and reduce the sauce over a medium heat for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Add the coriander and stir through, then add the chops and the Baby Gem and coat generously in the sauce. Serve the chops on warmed plates with the charred Baby Gem and scatter with spring onions and a little extra coriander.