Monday, November 14, 2011

Mustard Bourbon Pork Chops and Balsamic Potatoes

At the request of a very lovely friend, I am posting these two recipes that I made recently and posted a picture of on Facebook.

Mustard Bourbon Pork Chops

First, let's talk about pork.  I love pork.  Chops, that is.  And butt.  And/or shoulder.  I don't like much else off the pig, including bacon.  I know that makes me some kind of sacrilege foodie, but that's how I roll.  But there's only so much you can do with pork chops.  Our stand-by recipe in our house is to sprinkle each side with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and bake.  Pretty unspecial, but that's how I grew up eating pork chops.

Until I found this recipe.

I'd like to thank the ever-delicious Tyler Florence for this one.  I wish I could say I've made it mine somehow, but I really haven't, except for making double the sauce every time because it's so finger-lickin' good.  Back when I first started watching Food Network, Tyler Florence had a show called How To Boil Water, in which he showed some semi-funny blonde girl how to cook.  She really was one of the most kitchen-dumb people I've ever seen.  So he really had to make easy recipes.  And this one is pretty darn easy.

Here's what you need:

  • 4 center cut pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (if you are doubling the sauce recipe like I do, double from here down)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

And here's what you do:

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat, for about 1 minute or until the surface of the pan is uniformly hot.  Pat the chops dry, and season the chops on one side with salt and pepper.  Add the oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the chops seasoned-side down, and cook until the chops are browned, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the butter and cook for 1 minute more.  Season the top of the chops, and turn the chops over.

At this point, your chops should have a gorgeous crust on them, like this:

Continue cooking until firm and an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes more.  Transfer the chops to a plate, tent with foil, and set aside to rest.

Pour off any fat remaining in the skillet.  Pull the pan from the heat and carefully add the bourbon.  Return the pan to the heat and tip the pan slightly to ignite the alcohol.

If you're a fraidy female like me, you might want to get a sexy man to do this part for you.

Yeah.  Like that!

Anyway.  Cook until reduced by half then add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Simmer for 3 minutes, then whisk in the mustard and the cream.

Mmmmmm.  Simmer until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, a few minutes longer.  Simmer until it's as thick as you want... in my book, the thicker the sauce, the better.

This is also a fantastic opportunity to get your gorgeous child to help you out in the kitchen.  Stirring is pretty safe.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.  And enjoy.  :)

Now on to some 'taters.  Who doesn't love 'taters, right?  And who doesn't love balsamic vinegar?  If you don't like balsamic vinegar, we can't be friends anymore.  Much like people have a hard time being my friend after they find out I don't like bacon.  Well, I guess that makes us even.

Balsamic Potatoes

This recipe comes from one of those uber-fancy foodie magazines -- I can't remember which one, but probably Gourmet or Food + Wine or something equally snobby that I like to subscribe to because I think one day my tastes will mature enough to make things from those publications.  I rarely find anything in those magazines I actually either want to make or feel skilled enough to attempt.  But, the pictures are pretty.  And, I found this gem.

Similar to any other recipe I make that requires a sauce of some sort, you may want to make a little extra of the sauce or cut back on the potatoes a bit.  These are best when they are saucy, and not dry.  The night I made the ones pictured below, they were perfect.  This isn't a very photogenic dish, but trust me, your taste buds will be thanking you for days for this one.  And then begging you to make them there 'taters again.

Here's what you need:

  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup to a whole stick of butter, softened (I never said they were healthy)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh time
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds small red potatoes (I bought 9 potatoes for the night I made these but only used 6 or 7)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Here's what you need to do:

I did make this recipe a little bit my own.  The original recipe called for adding the shallots freshly chopped to the cooked potatoes, but shallots are a little too oniony for me to do that (I can barely dice them without crying).  So I borrowed a technique I've used in other recipes in which I reduce the vinegar with the shallots in a pan.  This softens the shallots and you still have a strong onion flavor, without the tear-inducing tang.  So.  Without further ado...

Bring vinegar and shallots to a boil in a small saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes to reduce.  Let cool for several minutes (or not, I never have time for that).  Add butter (start with 1/3 cup), thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper; whisk together to combine.

If you think the mixture is a little too balsamic-y for you, add the rest of that stick of butter.

Boil potatoes whole; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain, and cut the potatoes in half, or in wedges, depending on the size you buy.  Dump back into the pan you boiled them in, and pour your balsamic-y goodness over top.

Sprinkle with remaining salt and toss to coat.  They should be pretty saucy.  And this is another golden opportunity to let your gorgeous child help in the kitchen, too.  Tossing can be pretty safe.

Serve immediately!  And enjoy.  Your tongue can thank me later.

(Told you they weren't very photogenic.)


  1. Cristin, you are way too cool to be my friend... Or should I say I am way too under-cool to be your friend? Any-hoo, I honestly love this blog (and the photos). And, by the way, these recipes may be simple to you, but they are far from simple to me (I'm even more kitchen-dumb that the chick you refer to)! I definitely want to try this as a meal, but I have to wait until Darryl gets back... not only so he can take care of the fire part but because cooking still takes my undivided attention and concentration, which Conor likes to suck up for himself :-) .

  2. Well, there's a really simple solution to that. I should probably just come visit you and cook for you. :)

    You are not too uncool to be my friend! <3