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Monday, March 21, 2011

Pork Chops with a Calvados Reduction

This is not "for the kids", kind-of-dinner!  This is for us "grown-ups" who have the desire to cook with different kinds of flavors from around the world. The sauce we are going to make for our pork chops is from a liquer called Calvados. 
Calvados is an apple brandy from the French région of Basse-Normandie or Lower Normandy, France.

According to wikepedia, Calvados is distilled from specially grown and selected apples, of which there are over 200 named varieties. It is not uncommon for a Calvados producer to use over 100 specific varieties of apples, which are either sweet (such as the Rouge Duret variety), tart (such as the Rambault variety), or bitter (such as the Mettais, Saint Martin, Frequin, and Binet Rouge varieties), with the latter category of apple being inedible.


The fruit is picked (usually by hand) and pressed into a juice that is fermented into a dry cider. It is then distilled into eau de vie. After two years aging in oak casks, it can be sold as Calvados. The longer it is aged, the smoother the drink becomes. Usually the maturation goes on for several years. A bottle of twenty-year-old Calvados can easily command double the price of a bottle of ten-year-old Calvados.
That is your small lesson in the history of Calvados. 
Let's get on with it and get to cooking with the Calvados!








The Players!


Season each side of pork chops with salt and pepper.   In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.   Place pork chops in hot oil and brown both side.  


Remove and place on the rack on top of the baking sheet.  (This pulls the excess grease away from the chops).  Place in pre-heated 400º oven and baked until done, 20 minutes depending on thickness.


Chop shallots.


In same skillet that chops were browned, add in 1 tablespoon of butter and melt.  Sauté shallots until soft 


then add in Calvados, flame and be careful not to get burned.  After flame dies out reduce the liquid in half, 


then add mustard and cream and stir well to combine.  
The last five minutes of cooking time on the chops remove chops from the 
oven and return to the skillet with Calvados sauce, turn to 
coat chops and cook for 3-5 minutes turning to coat in sauce.


Viva la France!

The Recipe:


Pork Chops with a Calvados Reduction Sauce

2 thick bone in pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Calvados (Apple Brandy)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup whipping cream or half-n-half

Serves 2
Season each side of pork chops with salt and pepper.   In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.   Place pork chops in hot oil and brown both side.  Remove and place on the rack on top of the baking sheet.  (This pulls the excess grease away from the chops).  Place in pre-heated 400º oven and baked until done, 20 minutes depending on thickness.
In same skillet that chops were browned, add in 1 tablespoon of butter and melt.  Sauté shallots until soft then add in Calvados, flame and be careful not to get burned.  After flame dies out reduce the liquid in half, then add mustard and cream and stir well to combine.  The last five minutes of cooking time on the chops remove chops from the oven and return to the skillet with Calvados sauce and turn to coat chops and cook for 3-5 minutes turning to coat in sauce.  Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Happy Eating!

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