February 5, 2010

French Friday: Pork Chops with Mustard and Cornichons


Because I have spent this week utterly unimpressed by food, drifting from toast to salad to sandwich with little passion and even less desire, it’s hard to imagine that it was only last week when I swooned over a pork chop. The entire experience of this dinner was worthy of a French Friday: I went to the fancy market and bought thick pork chops wrapped in butcher paper from a man in a paper hat. I selected a slim baguette with a crisp shell and airy insides. I visited the wine store and explained what we were eating — in great detail — and was paired with a truly heavenly accompaniment. I came home, turned on some blues, and set about making a dinner that was ready mere moments later.

In my experience, there aren’t a lot of recipes like this — ones that tap into your best vision of yourself, that are elegant, special, and ready in a flash, that make your dining companion think you have some unmatchably magic touch when you come into contact with a cast iron skillet and tongs. Perhaps I should spend less of my time making chili and more of my time seeking out food that elevates not just dinner itself, but (not to sound heavy handed) the way I feel about my life. Because there I was, on an ordinary day, making it all look so easy (and truly, it was), sitting down to the sort of supper that would be ideal if you learned Jacques Pepin were coming over in 20 minutes, or if you just feel that you deserve a fine chop, a simple sauce, and a cold glass of wine. And here I am, a week later, without a twinge of gastronomic interest in my stomach or fingers, still feeling great about that dinner.

More pork chop recipes:


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Pork Chops with Mustard and Cornichons
adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2

2 tablespoons butter
2 bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or tarragon
1 large sliced shallot
2 tablespoons cup thinly sliced cornichons (gherkins)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 cupchicken broth
1/4 cup apple juice

Melt 1 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chops with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the fresh herbs. Add chops to skillet. Cook until browned and cooked through, adjusting heat to medium if browning too quickly, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, and cover to keep warm.

Add shallots to same skillet and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining teaspoons of herb, cornichons, mustard, broth, and juice. Boil sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoons butter. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer chops to plates and spoon sauce over top.

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  • Julie: Pork with mustard sauce is one of my go-to dinners. But I’ve never, ever thought to add cornichons. I love those little pickles so much! I must try it.

    And PS (you could probably guess this already…), but a giant swish of wine in place of the chicken stock is fantastic!6 years ago

  • Julie, In fact, I thought of doing that very thing, but then thought I should stay true to the recipe. Next time, though, all bets are off!6 years ago

  • dining table: Ever since I told myself I need to cut off meat in my food, I seemed so depressed. Especially that I can’t eat my favorite pork chops!6 years ago

  • Ping: Ohhh, that’s what I’ll do next with pork chops.5 years ago

  • baby crib: Wow! Yummy porkchops! I like that part of the pork. Oh, and I also love the greens as the side dish.5 years ago

  • Sara Rose: Wine and camembert added to your mustard sauce are BOTH divine. My ma does it constantly. It’s delicious. And fattening. Which I love.5 years ago

  • Sarah: Lovely, Sarah, as always…I always find this blog a fail-safe source of comfort and friendly inspiration. (What are those delicious looking greens on the side, btw?? I’m always trying to come up with simple but tasty vegetable sides that actually complement the main dish rather than blatantly stating, “I was trying to be healthy so I grabbed a handful of spring mix from the bag and called it a day”…ha.) xo!5 years ago

  • You won’t believe it Sarah, but it’s a handful of spring mix grabbed from the bag! Ha!5 years ago

  • Sarah: No kidding – my go-to healthy side fix is officially POP approved!! :) Must be the dressing – and your awesome food styling skills – that makes it look so pretty. On a side note – when is that movie being released – the indie romance flick you did the food styling for?? Looks like such a charming story – I’m looking forward to it!5 years ago

  • Well, the dressing is the same one I use on everything. And the movie! So glad you asked — it’s making the rounds through the festivals right now. Hopefully someone will snatch it up and then it will be coming to a theater near you! It is a really romantic, funny, offbeat story about love so I really hope everyone will get the chance to see it.5 years ago

  • Cait: I read about your recipe in The Gist in the US Airways magazine. I’m a vegetarian, but I really wanted to make it because it sounded soooo delicious!

    I made it tonight using West Soy Seitan Strips (gluten intolerant folks can use extra-firm tofu) and veg broth for substitutions. You can even use vegan margarine spread (I’m not vegan but have many friends who are). I have to say, it was everything I hoped it would be! Thank you for a wonderful recipe that will now be a staple in my recipe box!5 years ago

  • Cait, That is so awesome! I’m glad to hear those substitutions still resulted in something delicious!5 years ago

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