I hope you aren’t getting tired of seeing dishes I’ve made from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s actually quite addicting once you get started. I’m continuously surprised by how delicious each recipe has been, and even more so, I’m pleased that this book uses ingredients that I have readily available. The best part? I’ve learned that French cooking methods really do bring out the flavors of the different meats and vegetables that I’ve tried, and the sauces… oh the sauces! I may never open another can of gravy as long as I live. :)
So the other night I really wanted to try one of the marinades for pork. I recently bought half a pig and have lots of pork chops and pork steaks in the freezer. Pork chops are a tricky thing. You have to make sure you cook them enough as undercooked pork has been linked to illness. Yet you don’t want to overcook pork as you’ll end up with a piece of dry tasteless cardboard that no one will enjoy. Well let me tell you, these are probably some of the best pork chops I have ever eaten. Juicy, delicious and full of flavor.
I have to admit, I was skeptical about the marinade. Just seemed that there weren’t enough ingredients to truly make it flavorful. Why am I still second guessing the master? It wouldn’t have been in the book if it wasn’t fabulous, after all. :)
Now what to pair with the pork chops? There’s mention of Garlic Mashed Potatoes several times in the book. It’s a bit shocking when you first read the recipe as it takes two entire bulbs of garlic to make this dish! However, Julia goes on to say that while that might seem like a lot, the method for cooking it simply provides a wonderfully mellow flavor that works perfectly. She couldn’t have been more right. These potatoes are dreamy!
Lemon Juice and Herb Marinade
For chops, steaks and small, boned roasts.
(ingredients per one pound of pork)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
3 parsley sprigs
1/4 tsp thyme or sage
1 bay leaf
1 clove of mashed garlic
Rub salt and pepper into the meat.
Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, add the pork and baste it. Place a lid over the bowl. Turn and baste the meat 3 or 4 times during its marination period. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, 6-12 are even better (chops).
For loin roasts, 6-24 hours, and for fresh hams and picnic shoulders, 2 -5 days.
Before cooking, scrape off the marinade and dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels. Julia repeats throughout the entire book that meat needs to be dried off before cooking or it will not brown properly.
As you can see, I placed my marinated pork in a plastic zipper bag and placed it into the refrigerator. I left it in there all day, then removed it about an hour before cooking to bring the meat back to room temperature.
To cook the chops, add 3-4 tablespoons of canola oil to a heavy bottomed skillet. Be sure you have dried off the chops with paper towels.
Heat the oil until it is almost smoking, then add the chops. Let the chops cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn to cook the other side.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
[Puree de Pommes de Terre a L'ail]
Julia notes that while these seems like a lot of garlic don’t be tempted to reduce the amount of you will regret it. The long cooking time removes the harsh strength of the garlic leaving a pleasant flavor. The garlic sauce and the potatoes should be combined at the last minute, right before serving, as the puree loses its nice consistency if it sits too long over heat.
2 heads of garlic, about 30 cloves
3-4 cup heavy bottomed saucepan with cover
4 tbsp butter
Cook the garlic slowly with the butter in the covered saucepan for about 20 minutes or until very tender but not browned (mine was around 16 minutes).
Now you need:
2 tbsp flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
a sieve and wooden spoon, or an electric blender
Blend in the flour and stir over low heat until it froths with the butter for 2 minutes without browning.
Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute.
Rub the sauce through a sieve or puree it in the electric blender. Simmer for 2 minutes more.
You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Dot top of sauce with bits of butter to keep a skin from forming, then reheat when needed.
Next you will need:
2 1/2 lbs baking potatoes
a potato ricer (I used a masher)
2 1/2 quart enameled saucepan
wooden spatula or spoon
4 tbsp softened butter
salt and white pepper
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Drop in boiling salted water to cover, and boil until tender. Drain immediately and put through a potato ricer. Place the hot puree in the saucepan and beat with the spatula or spoon for several minutes over moderate hear to evaporate the moisture. As soon as the puree begins to form a film at the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and beat in butter a tablespoon at a time. Beat in salt and pepper to taste.
Now measure out:
3-4 tbsp whipping cream
4 tbsp minced parsle
Also, have at the ready, a hot, lightly buttered vegetable dish.
Shortly before serving, beat the hot garlic sauce vigorously into the potatoes. Beat in the cream by spoonfuls but do not thin out too much. Beat in the parsley. Correct seasoning and turn into hot vegetable dish.