One thing I have learned about cooking and hosting dinner gatherings over the years is that it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew, figuratively speaking. So when I knew that I’d be cooking for four people on Tuesday night, I wanted to keep it casual. I decided that instead of juggling a bunch of different things, I would focus on making one dish that would be very tasty, well rounded and satisfying.
Since I had an abundance of enormous farmer’s market leeks awkwardly folded into the plastic produce drawer of my fridge, I decided to make this pork recipe from Bon Appétit May 2009 that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. I encourage you to look for heritage pork rib chops as the recipe calls for. However, I used commercial pork rib chops and it was still great. Anna whipped up a simple butter lettuce salad with radishes and avocados and I served the chops over Arborio rice cooked in chicken broth.
Pork Chops with Leeks in Mustard Sauce
- 4 1 1/2- to 2-inch-thick bone-in heritage pork rib chops
- 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
- olive oil (optional)
- 4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 3 large)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup créme fraîche or sour cream
Pat chops dry with paper towels. Mix 2 teaspoons coarse salt, thyme, rosemary, and 1teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning mixture on both sides of chops. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 2 hours or wrap and chill up to 1 day.
Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp and lightly browned. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to small bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chops to skillet. Sear until brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to small baking sheet.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet (or add olive oil to make 3 tablespoons). Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add brandy, then broth and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return bacon to skillet; add sage and stir to blend.
Nestle chops in leeks in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer 3 minutes. Turn chops over. Cover; simmer until thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 140°F to 145°F, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chops to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm.
Spoon off any fat from cooking liquid in skillet. Boil until all liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Whisk in mustard, then crème fraîche (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chops.