Porkchops w/ Thyme, Leeks, and Port

All I can say is, I have a newfound appreciation for porkchops. I never realized how easy they are to make, and how chewy yet tender the meat is.  This dish immediately makes me think of comfort food. Something about the soft white meat and the leek garnish hits a very warm spot.

Also, just as a side note, I have to say that leeks used to intimidate me - they are so big, and I never knew what to do with them - do I use the big green parts? How do I grapple with such a large vegatable? But they are actually very easy to work with! Once you buy them, you can discard the bright green section (which is the top part, it is dry and usually not very tasty - cooking it would create a very bitter flavor).  Next, slice off the root, which is the hairy-looking part on the other side of the leek.  What you're left with the "meat" of the leek, which is so sweet and has a hint of onion flavor, that once you try a good leek recipe I am confident you will be hooked.  So please, try this delicious recipe!

Porkchops with Thyme, Leeks, and Port - serves 1
1 porkchop (size varies, depending on how much you want to eat)
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
1 slice of bacon, chopped into lardons
1 large leek (or 2 small), sliced cross-wise and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons port wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1. Mix the thyme in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Wash and dry the porkchop, then rub the mixture all over it. Place it in the fridge to marinate for about 3-4 hours (longer, up to 8 hours, is fine too).

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and cook the lardons until crisp and golden. Pick out the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel. Add the porkchop to the skillet, and cook for about 4-5 per side. Transfer the chops to a plate or a baking sheet.

3.  If there is less than a tablespoon of fat in the skillet, add olive oil to make it about a tablespoon. Still over medium heat, add the leeks. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until tender.

4.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the port, and then the chicken broth. Return the bacon bits to the skillet, then add the sage.

5.  Next, place the porkchop back into the skillet and nestle it between the leeks. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, then turn it over and cook for about 3 minutes more (if you bought a larger porkchop, increase cooking time by about 1 minute per side). You may want to check the middle for doneness - just open it with a fork and knife - there should be no pink parts left.

6. Place the porkchop on a plate. Stir in 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard to the leeks, and stir to blend. Spread the leeks over the porkchop.

Bonne degustation!! A bientot!


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