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 Burgundian pork chops
 Join me in Burgundy in May!
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Burgundian pork chops

It may not be necessary from either a culinary or a wine-appreciation standpoint, but there's still something I enjoy about matching a good wine with a good dish that comes from the same geographical and cultural background.

Somehow it just feels right to enjoy a country Italian dish with a country Italian wine (or whatever), even when a completely cross-cultural match (Sancerre with sushi, anyone?) can bring just as much gustatory pleasure.

Prepping for a much-anticipated trip to Burgundy coming up this spring (our annual wine-enthusiast tour with French Wine Explorers, details below), I've been tasting plenty of the wines of Burgundy lately, and giving the region's cookery a workout.

One of my favorite Burgundy cookbooks, a 22-year-old volume that I've had since it was new, is Mireille Johnston's The Cuisine of the Rose: Classical French Cooking from Burgundy and Lyonnais. Today's featured recipe, chosen to pair with an excellent Burgundy that I'll feature in tomorrow's Wine Advisor, comes direct from this book, modified somewhat to simplify it a bit, reduce the number of servings and cut back a bit on the oil and butter that make true Burgundian dishes so, er, filling.

Typical of Burgundian fare, it's more hearty than elegant, bold and even pungent yet perfectly balanced; a people's dish of the countryside that takes advantage of locally available ingredients in what appears to be a winter dish that could be put together from the larder, in earlier times, during a season when fresh summer vegetables couldn't be found.

It's called Côtes de Porc au Vinaigre, or simply in English, "pork chops with vinegar," a moniker that's slightly misleading since the smallish amount of vinegar in the ingredients list adds a pleasant sharpness but no overbearing vinegary flavor.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

2 pork chops, bone-in, 6-8 ounces (180-240g) each
Black pepper
1/2 medium white or yellow onion
1 tablespoon Dijon or other brown stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped tart pickle (French cornichons if available)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf


1. Salt and pepper the pork chops. Coarsely chop the onion, and mix the mustard, tomato paste and vinegar in a small dish. Chop the pickles. (PORK CHOP NOTE: You can substitute butterflied boneless chops, but I like the flavor of the bone-in loin chop best.)

2. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pork chops, turning occasionally, until they're well browned, about 10 minutes. Then pour off most of the accumulated fat in the skillet.

2. Reduce heat to low. Peel and smash the garlic clove, and put it and the bay leaf in the skillet with the pork chops. Continue cooking uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the chops are done. Remove the chops to a plate and keep them in a warm oven while you finish the sauce.

3. Pour off most of the fat again. Increase heat to medium and saute the chopped onions until they're brown, adding a splash of water to "deglaze" the skillet. Reduce heat to very low and stir in the mustard, tomato paste and vinegar mixture. Cook for a minute or two, stir in the chopped pickles, and put the pork chops back in the skillet, turning them once or twice to coat them well with the sauce.

A mashed potato-and-turnip combination made an excellent accompaniment to this dish, the earthy-tart turnip flavor adding synergy to the match. A side dish of fresh asparagus braised in a little butter completed the meal.

WINE MATCH: As noted, this dish from Burgundy is made for Burgundy, and a particularly fine, youngish red from the Côte de Nuits, the North Berkeley Imports bottling of Arlaud 1999 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru "Aux Chezeaux," made a perfect match. I'll report on the wine in detail in tomorrow's Wine Advisor.

Although Johnston's Burgundy cookbook is long out of print, it's still available new and used through secondary sellers at If you're interested, the following link will take you there, and should you purchase during that visit, we'll get a small commission at

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about this recipe or food and cookery in general, you're welcome to drop by our Food Lovers' Discussion Group, where I've posted this article as a new topic, "FoodLetter: Burgundian pork chops"

Click the REPLY button on the forum page to post a comment or response. (If your E-mail software broke this long link in half, take care to paste it all back into one line before you enter it in your Web browser.)

Join me in Burgundy in May!

I've been announcing this regularly in Friday's Wine Advisor during my recent 12-part Burgundy series, and in light of today's subject, I'll take the liberty of repeating it here:

The countdown continues for my May 24-30 tour of Burgundy and Champagne, which is shaping up to be an exceptional introduction to the real world of Burgundy (and a bonus side trip to Champagne), with VIP-style visits at several top producers plus memorable meals and lodging. I look forward to meeting some of you and sharing time on the wine road. Details at French Wine Explorers,

Let us hear from you!

If you have suggestions or comments about The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter, or if you would like to suggest a topic for a coming edition and recipe, please drop me a note at I really enjoy hearing from you, and I try to give a personal reply to all mail if I possibly can.

Of course you also have a standing invitation to participate in our interactive Food Lovers' Discussion Group. To participate in this friendly online community, simply click to
and feel free to reply to any topic or start a new one.

Last Week's FoodLetter and Archives

Last week's Wine Advisor Foodletter: Rosemary-skewered scallops (Jan. 22)

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Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004
Copyright 2003 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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