Pork Chops With Leeks In Mustard Sauce

Pork chops always seem underappreciated. At first thought, I picture, a pale lump of dry meat that needs a saw to cut through it. But not all pork chops are like that. Some are juicy and tender, like a nice piece of steak. And these pork chops fall into that latter category.

I found this pork chop recipe while flipping through the May 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. Pork chops, leeks, mustard -- I was in. On further reading I saw that the recipe also calls for bacon and fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage -- definitely in!

I knew that regardless of whether he liked the sauce, my boyfriend would still enjoy the chops, so it was a dish that could easily suit both of us. Fancy and flavorful for me and plain and simple for him. I like when I find recipes that can make us both happy.

You can find the original recipe on Bon Appetit's Web site.

Pork Chops with Leeks in Mustard Sauce (adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2009 issue)

4 1 1/2- to 2-inch thick pork chops (I did not use heritage pork, as BA recommends)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
Olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup creme fraiche

Blot pork chops with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Rub chops with mixture of salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for an hour or two.

Heat large skillet over medium heat and saute bacon until crisp. Remove to plate lined with paper towel. Increase heat to medium-high and add chops. Brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Set aside on plate.

Add olive oil to the pan so you have about 3 tablespoons of oil including drippings from bacon (I didn't really have any drippings and used mostly olive oil).

Add leeks and saute about 7 minutes, until they soften. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.

Add broth and brandy and bring to a boil. Stir in bacon and sage.

Reposition chops in skillet atop leeks. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn pork chops and cook for about 3 more minutes.

Transfer chops to a plate and loosely cover with foil.

Continue boiling mixture in skillet until all liquid has evaporated.

Whisk in mustard and creme fraiche.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with chops.

I thought this dish was incredibly tasty. The pork chops were moist and juicy (make sure to purchase thick ones). The mustard sauce thickly blanketed the chops and was so velvety and rich. I actually heaped more spoonfuls than you can see in these pictures on my plate and scooped up excess with the chops. (Benefit to boyfriend not eating sauce: extra sauce for me!) I love how the leeks and bacon added subtle texture to the dish.

And the mashed potatoes complemented the chops well; anything more complex would have provided too much flavor competition.