Recipe Source - Sauce: Child, Julia with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One (Fortieth Anniversary Edition). Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2001 pp. 62 - 3.
Despite a cookbook collection that seems to be absorbing more and more of my house every day, I've never owned a cookbook by Julia Child. Truth be told, I've always found her a little intimidating. I stood next to her once, during my undergrad days when the likelihood of my cooking anything at all ever was remote indeed. She was larger than life. Literally. I'm considered moderately tall for a woman, and she made me feel like a midget. I literally had to crane my neck. And while she was pretty spare - there was nothing "extra" on her - she was certainly no willo-the-wisp. I felt very, very small. That feeling of smallness, I guess, has carried through to the arena of cooking. I just never wanted to subject myself to something as intimidating and scary as Julia Child's French Cuisine. As time went on, though, it occurred to me that I was being Very Silly. When I found Mastering the Art of French Cookingfor a decent price (at Williams Sonoma) I decided to go for it.
I can't believe I was that intimidated. The recipes in this book - which, admittedly, was intended as an instructional book - are very easy to follow. I honestly thought that the recipe would take forever and would be so temperamental that the slightest distraction would ruin it. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. It was incredibly easy and incredibly flavorful. The sauce was recommended for poached chicken, but I decided that pork would be tasty. I didn't make a whole lot of changes to the sauce recipe, although I did wind up increasing the amount of tarragon slightly. I also skipped the recommended steps for improving store-bought stock, mostly because I forgot but also because I think store-bought stock has improved significantly since when the book was first written.
So this dish proves something: it is completely possible to make a delicious, sophisticated dish in little time (such as on a weeknight.) If you make the sauce base ahead of time and freeze it, this will come together even faster. The flavor was actually pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. The pork really worked well with the sauce.
Pork Chivry (serves 4; approx. $2.56/serving)
1 lb thick boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups boiling chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon butter
- Enameled saucepan
- Small saucepan
- WIRE whisk
- Slotted spatula
- In the enameled saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
- Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour froth together for two minutes without coloring. This looks weird when it's written out like this, I know, but it will make sense when you actually do it.
- Remove the roux from heat. Pour in all the hot stock at once and begin beating immediately with the wire whisk - I don't think plastic would work here, and wire was specified by the author. Make sure you gather in all the bits of roux from the sides of the pan.
- Set over medium-high heat and, stirring constantly with the wire whisk, bring to a boil. Keep stirring and boiling for one minute.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep warm over the lowest setting or freeze until you plan to use it.
- In the small saucepan, bring the wine, tarragons and shallots to a boil.
- Boil for ten minutes, until the liquid in the saucepan is very substantially reduced (down to 3 tablespoons.)
- In the meantime, brown the pork chops in the skillet until brown on all sides.
- Strain the liquid from the saucepan into the sauce you've been keeping warm. Discard the solids and bring to a simmer.
- When the pork chops are browned, transfer them to the dish with the sauce using the slotted spatula. The sauce isn't that heavy, but the butter doesn't need the addition of the rendered pork fat!
- Cook the pork chops in the simmering sauce until done.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the sauce. Remove from heat and let the butter melt.