Which leaves it up to Do. Every so often he'll put his foot down: "I. Need. MEAT." Then a series of things will happen:
1. He'll reach for Julia Child's MTAOFC Vol 1.
2. He'll realize the dish he wants is fairly time consuming (i.e. weekend only) and/or serves 12.
3. We end up throwing a spontaneous dinner party, for the sole purpose of drafting others to help us consume the product of his labors.
This happened, almost exactly as described, a few weeks ago. It started with Do deciding that he couldn't go another week without pork chops, and ended with one of the larger dinner+board game parties that we've hosted since moving to California. The whole experience yielded some revealing insights:
- This is why we've become closer to our meat-eating friends than to our vegetarian friends, even though we eat mostly vegetarian ourselves. We can (and do) have our meat-eating friends over at the drop of a hat -- or a couple hours after meat-related inspiration strikes Do. Vegetarian dishes are simply easier to scale and less of an event, and so less likely to prompt a last minute "We're making X, want to come over?"
- Do loves Julia Child. This cracks me up. I think his inner scientist really appreciates how precise she is, and his inner Midwesterner hearts her meat-centric take on food.
- Do makes effing good pork chops. I had always thought of pork chops as dry and leathery. Oh no. Not this recipe. Not this cook.
- Always serve a Julia Child dish over noodles. Best pasta sauce EVER. And face it, what else are you going to do with all that cream?
6 thick pork chops (min 1"). Can be marinated ahead of time*
3-4 Tbs cooking oil
2 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine or beef stock
1 1/2 c whipping cream
2 Tbs mustard
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs fresh chopped basil or parsely
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dry the pork chops with paper towels. Heat oil until almost smoking in a large heavy-bottomed casserole. Brown the chops, 2 or 3 at a time, on each side for 3-4min. Transfer to side dish. If you didn't marinate them, season with salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp thyme.
Add butter and garlic to casserole. Return the chops, overlapping them slightly. Baste them with the butter. Cover and heat the casserole until the meat is sizzling, then set in lower third of preheated oven for 10-15min. Turn and baste the chops once or twice.
While the pork chops are cooking, simmer the cream, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper in a small saucepan for 8 - 10 min, or until it has reduced to one cup. Meanwhile, beat the mustard and the tomato paste together in a small bowl, then beat into the hot cream. Set aside.
Once the chops are done, remove them to a serving platter and pour the cream mixture into the casserole. Simmer 3-4 min, deglazing. Correct seasoning, stir in the basil, return the pork to the casserole and let heat.
Serve over noodles.