Friday, February 22, 2008

Donna Deane's Pork Chops with Tarragon Cream

There are certain staple foods that I always have on hand for those nights that I need something foolproof and fast from freezer to fork. Pork tenderloin is one of my favorites – it defrosts in a flash and cooks up tender and buttery soft, no knife in sight.

My favorite preparation is to clean off the silver skin, slice it against the grain into half (or three-quarter) inch medallions, sauté in a hot pan with sage and thyme and finish with a vermouth and cream pan sauce. Literally 30 minutes from start to finish.

This recipe from Donna Deane appeared in the LA Times in December, 2000 as one of the Top 10 Recipes of the year. Always happy to find a variation of a favorite, I picked up some fresh tarragon at the market and substituted tenderloin for the bone-in chops that the recipe calls for.

To round out the plate, I roasted some chunks of Kabocha squash with quartered onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. The resulting dish was delicious and as speedy to prepare as my old standby.

Donna Deane’s Pork Chops with Tarragon Cream
Los Angeles Times – December 27, 2000

4 center-cut pork loin chops with bone
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup unsalted chicken broth
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

Season pork loin chops with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in large heavy skillet until hot. Add pork chops and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown second side, about 5 minutes. Remove chops from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about one minute. Stir in chicken broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Stir in whipping cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Return chops to skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until chops are light pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Stir tarragon into sauce during last few minutes of cooking.

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