While pork chops may not live up to everyone’s idea of a Valentine’s Day dinner, for us they made the perfect late-night supper, especially when prepared as they were last night. We had seen them prepared a few weeks ago on the Cooking Chanel’s “French Food at Home” by Canadian chef Laura Calder and were eager to prepare them at home.
When we found the recipe on line, however, we were surprised by how many discrepancies there were between the television and website versions. For example, the online recipe calls for 4 fatty pork chops rather tan the 4 fat, thick chops used on the show. Similarly, the online version listed 1.5 pounds potatoes thinly sliced, while on television Calder specifically specified waxy potatoes sliced thick.
Consequently, I modified the recipe to follow the dish prepared on the show and was extremely pleased with the result. Although I had some reservations about cooking the chops for close to two hours, they came out perfectly succulent and tasty.
The next time I prepare this dish, I’ll probably use chops a little thicker than an inch and extend the cooking time a tad. But even if you only have inch-thick chops, you’ll enjoy this French country dish.
Pork Chops with Potatoes adapted from Cooking Channel Chef Laura Calder
4 thick bone-in rib pork chops (a least 1-inch thick)
2 cloves garlic, sliced (try to have 3 slices per chop)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced thick, about 1/2 inch
1 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch
2 to 3 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch lardons
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cut 2 to 3 slivers along the fatty edge of each pork chop and slide in the slices of garlic.
Heat the oil and the butter in skillet large enough to accommodate the 4 chops on high heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper and brown them well, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the chops to a plate and deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Transfer the pan juices to a large enamel-cast iron Dutch oven.
Arrange half the potatoes and onions over the pan juices in the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper lay two chops on top of the potatoes and onions.
Then stack the remaining two chops on top of the chops in the pot. Scatter the bacon and juniper berries over the stacked chops.
Cover with the remaining potatoes and onions. Season this layer with additional salt and pepper. Pour over the wine.
Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the potatoes and pork chops and lay it in on top.
Bake the dish for about 1 hour and 45 minutes (longer if using thicker chops), pouring in the chicken stock halfway through baking. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Wine Pairing: Brunello di Montalcino