French Cooking: Week Two

After week one of figuring out the French method for cooking, I decided to do things a little differently by not sticking to the recipe 100%. I decided to make life just a little bit easier.

Saturday’s Dinner: Dijon Pork Chops

1.2Dijon appears in a lot of French recipes.  Since I had made two chicken dishes last weekend, I decided to modify this Chicken Dijon recipe and use pork chops instead.

As you read through the recipe, I’m just going to let you know that I really simplified it so that anyone could make it without the extra grunt work (like the first step of toasting the coriander seeds…I took that out completely). Here is my revised recipe.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons butter
4 pork chops
Sea salt and freshly ground peper
2 finely chopped shallots
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (made from scratch)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons crème fraîche

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the butter.  Season the pork chops with sea salt and ground pepper (go light on the sea salt).  Cook the pork chops over moderately high heat, turning until golden brown on both sides.  Add the scallions and garlic, cooking for a couple of minutes.  Add broth.

2.  In a separate bowl, mix together the dijon mustard, whole grain-mustard, honey and crème fraîche.  Poor mixture over the pork chops and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with buttery noodles. [For a little extra flavor, add parsley, or Italian seasoning to the noodles.]

I also had some of the green beans with shallots and almonds leftover from last weekend’s meal, so I added that as a side dish.

Sunday’s Dinner: CrockPot Pork in Red Wine Vinegar

1.1This is another adaptation from a Food & Wine recipe.  Instead of Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar, I used sliced pork.  Instead of all the cooking on the stove, I used a crock pot.  Just add all of the ingredients to a crock pot, minus the crème fraîche.

I put the ingredients together and then set the temperature on high.  3 hours later, the pork was cooked through.  I added the crème fraîche and let cook for another half an hour before turning off the crock pot.

As a side dish, I made brussel sprouts with peas (I was craving peas, but this recipe I found for brussel sprouts sounded good, so I added the peas as a filler).

It’s very simple to make if you’ve figured out the French method.

{RECIPE} Heat 2 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet, fry 8 slices of bacon in it (I used turkey bacon), after the bacon is cooked, add 3 shallots (thinly sliced), after the shallots brown (takes about 20 seconds), add the brussel sprouts and peas (I used frozen).  Cook for 4-5 minutes (or until the sprouts are hot, i.e. not frozen).

I still had some herbed rice leftover from last weekend, so I used that as the bottom layer to my dish, poured the sauce from the red wine vinegar over it and reheated it.  Next, I put the brussel sprouts, bacon and peas mixture in the center and then topped it with a few slices of pork.

All I’m going to say was that this meal was so delish!  The second day (for lunch), it was even better as the juices soaked into the dish even more.

Extra

The key thing to this past weekend was creating French meals without all of the heavy-laden work.  Could a French meal be cooked up in a crock pot (that isn’t the regular French dip sandwiches)?  Yes, it can.  A busy person could put all of the ingredients in a crock pot, walk away for a few hours and come back to a succulent main dish.

And yes, some of these recipes in Food & Wine can be less of a hassle.  Also, the key thing with taking out ingredients and adding new ones lies more in…using what you have already.  I didn’t have coriander seeds, but I did have whole-grain mustard with a seedlike texture that I picked up in Ireland (so it is soaked in Guinness…big deal).  Either way, it went perfectly with the dijon sauce.  I added honey because I liked the thought of having a little bit of honey dijon on my pork chops {note: depending on how sweet you like your honey dijon, just add more honey or use honey dijon mustard instead}.

In other words, I modified these dishes to incorporate the ingredients I had on hand.  If you have the basic French meal down, you could do the exact same with other recipes by modifying them to fit what you have at home already.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.