Late last year, I started my Les Halles series - my adventure to cook through Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook. It's been awhile since I last updated my series so I decided to cook a recipe out of the book on Monday for a new episode of No Reservations.
On this particular night, my stomach led me to Bourdain's côte de porc à la charcutière. Sounds fancy and intimidating doesn't it? It's quite possibly one of the easiest and fastest pork dishes I've come across. Pretty much, you're pan roasting a pork chop then making a pan sauce in the same pan. Again, (and like Tony says in the book) don't be intimidated by recipes at first because of the ingredient list, length or name. You'll be pleasantly surprised how easy some dishes can be as long as you stay calm and stay organized.
30 minutes before I started to cook, I took out my pork chops and seasoned them on both sides with salt and pepper. Then go do whatever you want to do for awhile - study, clean, read, call your mom, call your girlfriend, go for a quick jog... you get the idea. After 20 minutes pass by, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Add a tablespoon of oil and butter to a hot, ovensafe pan. Once the foam from the butter has subsided, sear the pork chops on each side until golden brown. It'll take about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Work in batches if you have to because the last thing you want is a gray, anemic looking meat sitting on your plate. Remember the Gordon Ramsay saying I always make on the blog? "If it's browned its cooked, if it's black its fucked". Once the pork chops have sealed on each side, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 8 minutes until cooked through. If you don't have an ovensafe pan, you could preheat a baking sheet in the oven and then transfer the pork chops after sealing.
Now, I usually prep my meez before starting to cook but because this recipe is so low maintenance, I did it during the 8 minutes (of course, you can still do this beforehand). Go get a small onion and make a fine chop. Grab some cornichons (commonly labeled gherkins at the grocery store) and chop those up. Now, the book says to slice thinly but I didn't want long or round slices of cornichons on my plate. So I made a fine dice - about the same size as the onions. Purely aesthetic and it's up to you how you want to approach this.
By now, (even if your knife skills are horrendous) you should be done chopping and the 8 minutes should be up. Remove the pan from the oven - remember the handle is hot! - and remove the pork chops to a plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest. Return the pan to heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions are golden brown then add 1 teaspoon of Wondra flour (all purpose probably works fine also). Cook out the flour for 1 minute. After cooking the flour out, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of white wine and reduce by the volume by half. Remember to scrape up any of that tasty brown stuff on the bottom! Add 1 cup of dark chicken or veal stock and reduce the liquid by half again.
Once it's reduced, remove the pan from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. After that's incorporated, add the cornichons and a chiffonade of flat leaf parsley to flavor the sauce. Can I also make note here that parsley actually does have flavor and if you chop it like mad into micrometer sized particles it becomes nothing more than a mere aesthetic? Don't be
Sandra Lee a bad cook - chop the herb once. Now, Tony says to place the pork chop on the dish and pour the sauce over the meat. I didn't follow suit. Why? It looked messy to me and it was more attractive when the pork sat on top of the sauce.