This is quick to fix dinner.
Having a pan sauce to go with your main dish takes the meal to a whole new level. You’re almost tempted to get dressed for Sunday supper.
Of course, a sauce like today’s made with heavy cream is rich and delicious, but it also comes with fat and calories. Trim those down by scaling back the amount of cream. A few tablespoons can add a lot of flavor and texture.
I tried today’s recipe when I had leftover heavy cream from testing another recipe. I wasn’t about to let it go to waste. But the sauce gets its flavor from more than cream. There’s tarragon, wine (you can substitute chicken broth) and pan juices from the cooked pork. With so many flavors vying for attention, a little goes a long way.
Making the sauce in the same pan the meat is cooked also boosts the flavor quotient. Credit all those concentrated pan juices and little bits of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan.
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I eliminated the original step of transferring the seared pork chops to a baking sheet to finish cooking in the oven. Instead, I used an ovenproof skillet and made the pan sauce in the skillet while the pork rested on a platter after coming out of the oven. It was one less pan to wash. I also drizzled the juices that accumulated on the platter into the finished sauce.
Using fresh tarragon and Dijon for the sauce is what piqued my interest in this recipe, along with it being quick and easy.
Tarragon is an herb with soft, delicate leaves that have an anise or licorice-like flavor. It’s easily grown at home.
Use tarragon leaves sparingly because of their strong flavor. Tarragon goes well in most fish, poultry or lamb dishes. It’s also the main ingredient in Bearnaise sauce, a classic French sauce made with shallots, eggs, butter, wine and vinegar. You can use chopped tarragon in egg dishes and soups. It’s also a great addition to a basic vinaigrette made with vinegar, oil and a touch of Dijon.
This recipe is adapted from the recently published “Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done!” by Real Simple magazine (Time Home Entertainment, $24.95). The book has 189 recipes, each with a full-color photo and held to one page. Nearly all of the recipes call for common pantry items and require minimal steps.
Pork Chops with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 small shallots, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon or honey Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups mix of frisee and Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
2. Season the pork chops with kosher salt and black pepper. Add them to the skillet and brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until cooked to the desired doneness. (The USDA recommends cooking the pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.)
3. Remove the pork from the oven and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
4. Set the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce just thickens. Stir in the mustard and tarragon.
5. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour over greens and toss to coat.
6. Place the chops on a plate and spoon sauce over. Serve with frisee salad.
Adapted from “Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done!” by Real Simple magazine (Time Home Entertainment, $24.95).