That was my lunch today: Côtes de Porc aux Pommes à la Moutarde, which is French for “pork chops with apples in mustard sauce.” Sounds dreamier in the French, but tastes just as delicious either way. Man, was this good. I was a little skeptical about how the Dijon mustard was going to marry with the apples, but the cream made all well. I served it with boiled potatoes coddled with Irish butter. Leftovers were even better for supper. We added salad and a bone-dry Spanish hard cider to the mix. I love cooking in the late fall and winter.
The recipe comes from Richard Olney’s classic Simple French Food. Dishes like this are ridiculously easy to make, but taste so good you feel like you are getting away with something. Here’s the recipe:
2 lbs apples, quartered, cored, peeled, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon butter
4 pork loin chops about 3/4 inch thick, pared of excess fat
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
About 1/3 cup Dijon mustard (to taste)
Spread the apples in a lightly buttered gratin dish (large enough to hold the chops placed side by side without forcing) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, salt and cook the chops in a bit of butter over medium heat until nicely colored on each side — 7 or 8 minutes per side. Arrange the chops on the apples’ surface, deglaze the pan with white wine, reducing it by half, and dribble it over the surface of the chops.
Mix the cream and the mustard, adding the latter progressively and tasting. Salt lightly, pepper to taste, and pour the mixture over the chops and apples, shaking the dish gently to be certain the cream penetrates the bed of apples. Bake 15 minutes longer at the same temperature.
This is comfort food, for sure.
This, by the way, was what was across the table from me as I finished off the chops for dinner. Nora asked for a rabbit for her birthday. I was opposed. Naturally, Nora now has a rabbit. Boogie is his name. I am actually growing a tad fond of the rodent [UPDATE: I know rabbits aren’t rodents; I was mock-insulting the little lagomorph by comparing him to a rat — RD]: