Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Pork chops Liegoise

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 Pork chops Liegoise
We follow up on last week's nostalgia session with another Belgian-inspired dish from another favorite 1970s cookbook.
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Pork chops Liegoise

It seems that I've been on a nostalgia kick lately ... following up on last week's Carbonnades a la Flamande, we turn again to another Belgian dish from another favorite 1970s cookbook, Pierre Franey's 60 Minute Gourmet.

This hearty dinner, which Franey said he discovered in a restaurant outside Brussels whose owner and chef came from the city of Liège, features thick, juicy pork chops topped with a blend of Gruyère cheese and Dijon mustard.

The 1970s original enriched the cheese with a blend of heavy cream and an egg. I revised the recipe in a more healthy 2000s style by eliminating those ingredients and their associated calories, simply topping the pan-seared chops with a blend of cheese and mustard alone, leaving it in the pan just long enough to melt the cheese. It's still plenty tasty, and so quick in this version that Franey's trademark 60 minutes can be reduced to 30 or less.


(Serves two)

2 thick pork chops, about 10-12 ounces (300-360g) each
Black pepper
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces (60g) Gruyére cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


1. Season the pork chops with salt and freshly ground black pepper; peel and smash the garlic cloves. Put the olive oil and the smashed garlic cloves in a heavy black-iron skillet over high heat until the oil sizzles. Put in the pork chops, sear on each side, then reduce heat to medium and cook, turning occasionally, until they're nearly done, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. (If you check with a food thermometer - always a good idea - a temperature of 150F [65C] at the center close to the bone is ample for safety.)

2. While the chops are cooking, grate the cheese and mix it with the mustard.

3. When the chops are almost done, smear the grated cheese and mustard mixture on top of each. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet and leave it just until the cheese is melted.

WINE MATCH: A fruity red or a richer-style white will work equally well with this dish. We paired it with the Mas de Gourgonnier 2005 Les Baux de Provence featured in yesterday's 30 Second Wine Advisor.

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