Monday, November 15, 2010
Creamy Mustard Pork Chops with Hard Cider or better yet - Viva Nigella!
What is it about Nigella? Her soothing-as-Ambien English accent? Her endearing way of phrasing things (just 'bung' it into a pan...)? Or let's face it - her gorgeous, gorgeous face? I say all of those are just icing on an already perfect cake.
For me it's her recipes. Sooner or later you'll make one that changes you as a cook. And in one fail swoop you've crossed a bridge there's no turning back from. You have arrived in the kitchen and Nigella is there with open arms and a cocktail.
I should caveat that while I love the below recipe - it's not the Nigella recipe that altered my cooking life. For me that was her Chocolate Pudding and Cherry Trifle, adapted here. Holly Hell!
Mustard Pork Chops
Adapted from 'Nigella Express' Cookbook...
* Serves 3.
* I used to hold a prejudice against recipes that called for heavy cream, believing it was a form of culinary cheating as anything with heavy cream is bound to be good. Well, I was dumb. That said I sometimes use mostly half and half in place of the cream with just a healthy splash at the end to meet the measurement. No one will notice - this recipe is chock full of flavor.
3 bone in, yet thin pork chops, already pounded by the butcher to 1/4 inch
sea salt or kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup hard cider (alcoholic fizzy apple cider)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/3 cup heavy cream
Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Season the chops on both sides with garlic powder, salt and pepper and set aside. Meanwhile add the olive oil to a medium sized rimmed skillet and bring to medium heat. Let the oil heat through for a minute or two until hot, then add the chops. Cook on the first side for 4 minutes or until they release easily when you try and turn them (making sure they have SOME hint of a golden crust before turning - if they look anemic - leave them be until some color appears.) Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove and place on a plate covering with foil as you get on with the sauce.
Without killing the heat, add the hard cider to the pan, gently scraping the browned bits from the bottom and swirling into the cider as it gently bubbles away - about 4 minutes. Gently stir in the mustard then raise the heavy cream (or half and half.)
Stir gently while you let everything bubble at a leisurely pace to thicken slightly (if there's no bubble whatsoever - raise the heat a bit.) After about 2 minutes, return the chops and any collected juice, nestling them in among the liquid. Let finish cooking over medium heat (or just get to know each other) being careful not to let come to a boil, for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve spooning extra sauce over each chop and garnish with flat leaf parsley and serve with roasted potatoes and Caesar salad (or that's what I do;)