Having a pan sauce to go with your main dish takes the meal to a whole new level. You're almost tempted to get dressed for Sunday supper.
Of course, a sauce like today's made with heavy cream is rich and delicious, but it also comes with fat and calories. Trim those down by scaling back the amount of cream. A few tablespoons can add a lot of flavor and texture.
I tried this recipe when I had leftover heavy cream from testing another recipe. I wasn't about to let it go to waste. But the sauce gets its flavor from more than cream. It has tarragon, wine -- you can substitute chicken broth -- and pan juices from the cooked pork. With so many flavors vying for attention, a little goes a long way.
Cooking the meat and then making the sauce in the same pan also boost the flavor. Credit all those concentrated pan juices and little bits of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Use tarragon leaves sparingly because of their strong flavor.
This recipe is adapted from the recently published "Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done!" by Real Simple magazine (Time Home Entertainment, $24.95). The book has 189 recipes, each with a full-color photo and held to one page. Nearly all of the recipes call for common pantry items and require minimal steps.
>Pork Chops with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 small shallots, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon or honey Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups mix of frisee and Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Season the pork chops with kosher salt and black pepper. Add them to the skillet and brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the pork from the oven and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Set the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Stir in the cream, and simmer until the sauce just thickens. Stir in the mustard and tarragon.
In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour over greens and toss to coat.
Place the chops on a plate and spoon sauce over. Serve with Frisee Salad.
327 calories (44 percent from fat), 16g fat (5g saturated fat), 4g carbohydrates, 34g protein, 620mg sodium,80mg cholesterol, 1g fiber.