16 September 2015

Pork Chops with Mustard and Caper Pan Sauce

I think I've mentioned it before, but I will repeat it: I almost never try recipes I find on the Internet anymore.  My kitchen has seen too many failed attempts with Internet recipes tagged to beautiful delicious-looking food pictures.  Plus, my make-this-recipe list is so huge even without the millions of recipes out there online, it hardly feels like I'm giving myself a break by cutting them all out.

Confession: I broke that rule earlier this year because the recipe (and its accompanying beautiful picture) came from Williams-Sonoma, a source I felt like I could trust.  And as it turns out, this recipe was published in a cookbook of theirs, so it is it technically still an Internet recipe even though I saw it online before I saw it in print??

Anyway, I have made dish A LOT this summer.  It's a huge hit with us, and it is soooo good.  The sauce is killer, and I love pretty much anything with capers in it.  Not to mention, cooking this dish is the easiest thing in the world.  And if you're cooking just for two (aka, not multiplying the recipe), it is ready lightning fast.  I'm talking an ACTUAL 30-minute meal.  Maybe even faster!

Are you ready?  Here we go.

Pork Chops with Mustard and Caper Pan Sauce, from Cook Good Food by Williams-Sonoma

4 center-cut pork loin chops, each about 7 oz and 3/4 inch thick
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup capers
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let stand for 30 minutes.  Pat the chops dry with paper towels and season both sides generously with salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and place a platter in the oven to warm.

Warm a large sauté plan or frying pan over high heat and add half of the oil.  When the oil appears to shimmer, reduce the heat to medium-high, add 2 chops, and sear without moving them for 2 1/2 minutes.  Turn and cook until the chops are golden and firm to the touch, but still have a little give, and 2 1/2 minutes more.  If you like, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into a chop, away from the bone; it should register 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare.  Transfer the chops to the warm platter and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat with the remaining oil and the remaining chops.

Pour any oil from the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the capers to the pan.  Cook for 1 minutes.  Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the cream, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.  Simmer the sauce until lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Pour some of the sauce over the chops on the platter.  Serve immediately, passing the remaining sauce at the table.  Serves 4.

photo from Williams-Sonoma.  you can see why i was tempted, right?

Kristin's notes:
(1) Your cooktop and surrounding area is going to be one huge oily mess.  Having a splatter guard helps, but to be honest my clothes are what I worry about most when I make this.  Wear an apron, don't wear a shirt you love, or shoot, wear a chef's coat if you have one (this recipe has made me consider getting one).
(2) If you're uncomfortable with the sauce being wine-based, try a non-alcoholic brand of wine.  I've made it both ways and it either way it is delicious.
(3) Serve this with some toasted bread and a light salad.  I'd recommended keeping the sides as plain as possible because the flavors from the pork and the sauce should be center stage.

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