It could only be in Burgundy, with its rolling fields and backdrop of sharp slopes so welcoming to the vines, that the vintner’s signature dish would be dressed with a tart and savory sauce seasoned at the last minute with the sprightly mustard of Dijon, the capital city of the region.
Historically, during the fall when time was spent either watching over the vines or hastily harvesting them, the grape grower’s wife — for she is the author of this Burgundian specialty — prepared dishes that were quick and simple yet substantial to nourish the workers. This recipe is a perfect example, with its blend of substance yet subtlety, its contrasting flavors and textures, its simple goodness. Serve it, of course, with a well-aerated Burgundy.–Susan Herrmann Loomis
The Vintner's Wife's Pork Chops Recipe
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Serves 6
- 1 tablespoon mild cooking oil, such as grapeseed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 thick-cut (about 1 1/2 inches) bone-in pork loin chop
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 garlic clove, green germ removed if necessary, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 4 cornichons, homemade or store-bought, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the fats are hot but not smoking, add the pork chops, season generously with salt and pepper, and brown them on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chops, season again, and brown on the other side, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Cover the pan and cook until the pork chops are cooked through, about 7 minutes. Check the pan once, and if the chops are sticking, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan. Transfer the chops to a serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep them warm.
- 2. Add the water to the pan, and then the shallot and garlic, and scrape up the browned juices from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the shallot and garlic soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour any juices from the pork chops into the pan, then cook the liquid until it is reduced by about half and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- 3. Meanwhile, mince the parsley.
- 4. Add the cornichons to the pan and stir, then add the mustard, stirring constantly until it is thoroughly incorporated. Taste for seasoning — the sauce will be quite acidic — then pour it over the pork chops. Sprinkle the parsley over all, and serve immediately.
Astuces: The pork chops cook very quickly. Pay careful attention so they don’t overcook into dry toughness. The cornichons and mustard combine to give this sauce a bright tang, which complements the richness of the pork. Deglazing the pan with water allows you to recuperate all the caramelized juices on the bottom of the pan. They are a fundamental building block to the flavor of the sauce.
The Vintner's Wife's Pork Chops Recipe © 2005 Susan Herrmann Loomis. All rights reserved.