Hey friends! Welcome back. It’s a warm 88 here in the city with a nice little breeze blowing. It’s nice enough outside that there’s a few sun bathers by the pool. Why they are out there is beyond me. Our community pool isn’t open yet, and they can’t get in it. I guess early tanning is the new trend. When I was young, without a care in the world, I would be out there with them getting all golden before the summer heat wave comes.
I’m breaking out the big guns for this post. Pork Chops with Charcutiere Sauce. Fancy, huh? Yes? No? How about if I explain what that is before we decide for sure. Let me start by saying, this is going to sound complex even though it’s not, and I’m sorry. The literal translation of charcutiere sauce is ‘sauce of the pig butcher’. In French cuisine there’s five mother sauces: hollandaise, veloute, sauce tomat, bechamel, and espagnole (brown sauce). Espagnole is the main base for charcutiere sauce. Are you with me so far? Here’s where I may lose you. The mother sauces are the bases for all the sauces in French cuisine. Once you have the completed base, or mother sauce, what you add to it changing it to a secondary sauce. In a nut shell, what we have with charcutiere sauce is a brown sauce reduction with French pickles and wine. For my version of this classic sauce, I reduced the steps and made it a little more home cook friendly. I pared my sauce with bone in, rib cut pork chops. If you aren’t a pork chop person, no worries. You can use this sauce for just about any cut of pork.
4 Tsp unsalted butter
2 c. diced yellow onion
1 c. diced celery
1 c. diced carrots
2 Tsp tomato paste
2 Tsp flour
2/3 c. dry white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc
4 c. pork stock, see chef’s note for substitution.
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
12 cornichon pickles, sliced then roughly chopped
salt and ground white pepper
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium to medium heat. When butter is hot and the foaming has stopped, slowly brown the onions, carrots, and celery, stir often to avoid over browning. Once the vegetables are browned, add the tomato paste. Stir and allow the tomato paste to brown to a brick color. Add the flour and allow it to brown. Add wine to deglaze the pan, stir to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Add stock, bay leaf, and thyme; stir well. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce to simmer, do not cover. Simmer sauce for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring often. Check the thickness of your sauce by dipping a spoon into it, and running your clean finger through it. If the sauce stays separated it’s good to go. If too thick add a little more stock and simmer a few more minutes, and test again. If too thin, simmer a little longer. When sauce is perfect, strain the sauce in to a heat proof bowl. Make to press the vegetables to extract all the sauce and flavor. Return sauce to the pan over low heat, and add the cornichon pickles. Let pickles heat through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
***Chef’s Note: If you don’t have, or can’t find pork stock use 1 1/2 c. beef stock and 2 1/2 c. chicken stock. The two flavors combined together is fairly close in taste to pork stock.