Smoked Pork Chop with Sweet Bermuda Onion and Mushrooms en Tarragon Beurre Blanc! Served with Purple Carrot and Haystack Yellow Sweet Potato.
This is a nice entree for the autumn season. Pork is popular during the fall and winter season, especially in Eastern Europe, France, Germany, America and Russia. Smoked pork loin chops are a classic choice for an entree when the weather becomes chilly. There is something about smokey flavors that bring about thoughts of wood stoves in cabins, camp fires and warm embers glowing in a fireplace. Warmth and comfort is the theme of today's recipe.
The classic French grill cuisson rules state that emulsion sauces should be served with char grilled food and the sauce should be under or around the grilled protein item. Emulsion sauces are sauces that combine two items that do not naturally mix together, like oil and vinegar for vinaegrette. Mayonnaise and hollandaise are emulsions. A naturally occurring emulsion is butter. Many chefs consider butter to be the perfect emulsion. Beurre Blanc is an emulsion sauce made with white wine and butter. Beurre Cognac, Beurre Rouge and and an endless list of liquefied butter emulsion sauces are used in French cooking and finishing sauces or garnishing sauces.
Butter emulsion sauces will break and separate if too much heat is applied. The liquid used in a butter emulsion sauce has to be concentrated or reduced to a very thin syrup consistency. A watery thin liquid in a butter emulsion sauce will produce a runny loose sauce that has no body.
Beurre Blanc can be made ahead of time and kept in a bain marie that is about 90º to 120º. Since this temperature is below the Servsafe hot food holding temperature of 135º, the beurre blanc should be served within 45 minutes after it is made, in order to avoid pathogen contamination. Once a beurre blanc reaches the limit of the safe serving time frame, it should be used as sauce finishing agent, a sauce modifier, a basting sauce or it should be heated and broken down for flavoring vegetables, seafood or poultry.
I first apprenticed with Italian chefs, before apprenticing with French chefs. Cucina di Italia is different than French cuisine in one major respect. Most Italian sauces are made to order (a la minute). Italian chefs make butter emulsion sauces to order in the same saute pan that the entree is cooked. Great care must be taken to saute the entree perfectly, so when the Italian butter emulsion sauce is made, it has the right color and consistency. Two good examples of Italian saute entrees that require a butter emulsion sauce finish are Scampi a Veneto and Scallopini di Vitello Piccata.
Technique for a la minute butter emulsion sauce:
Cooking a butter emulsion sauce that is made to order separately from the entree is relatively easy to do, but a cook must have a good sense of timing. About 3 to 5 minutes before the featured protein item finishes cooking, a pan is heated and the accompanying butter emulsion sauce is made. The butter emulsion sauce and protein item should finish cooking at the same time. No time can be wasted plating the entree, so the butter emulsion sauce does not cool off.
Because mushrooms taste better when sautéed, they are the start of today's beurre blanc recipe. A minimal amount of butter should be used to saute the mushrooms. The mushrooms should make the classic "squeaking noise" when sautéed. After the mushrooms become tender, white wine, sweet bermuda onion, tarragon and seasoning is added. The wine is rapidly reduced to a thin syrup consistency, then the pan is removed from the heat. Pats of butter are quickly added a few at a time, while constantly moving the pan in a circular motion, while stirring with a whisk or saucing spoon. The motion of the moving pan is really what causes the butter to emulsify with the wine reduction. The sauce must be used immediately. Reheating the sauce may cause it to break. A seasoned veteran cook can repair a broken beurre blanc, but the cooking technique involved is better learned in person.
Purple Carrot Garnish:
Before orange carrot hybrids were developed in Holland, almost all carrots were purple. Some purple varieties have an interesting two tone orange and purple color.
Cut a peeled purple carrot lengthwise into 2 long thin slices that are about 6" to 8" in length.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Add 1/3 cup of water.
Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Add the carrot strips.
Rapidly simmer and reduce the liquid, till most of the liquid evaporates.
Season with sea salt and white pepper.
Keep the carrot slices warm on a stove top. The carryover heat from the pan will finish cooking the carrots and they should still be almost al dente.
Haystack Yellow Sweet Potato:
This recipe makes 1 or 2 portions, depending on the size of the yellow sweet potato. Snacking on the extra haystack potato is a cook's reward!
It is easy to cut long thin julienne sweet potato strips with a French mandolin, but this kitchen tool is very dangerous id all of the safety features are not in place. Cutting long slices by hand, then stacking the slices and cutting them into long strips is the old fashioned way to make shoestring potatoes.
Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360º.
Cut 1 peeled yellow sweet potato into long julienne strips that are the length of the potato. (Standard julienne precision cut is 1/8"x1/8"x 3 1/2" to 4" in length. For a haystack sweet potato, just cut the strips as long as possible.)
Gradually add one handful of the yellow sweet potato strips (about the size of a cup) to the hot frying oil. By slowly sprinkling the potato strips across the surface of the hot oil, foaming will be reduced.
Use a fryer net to gently corral and gather the sweet potato strips as they fry. The sweet potato strips will become very flexible and tender at first, so care must be taken not to damage the strips.
Continue gathering the sweet potato strips together into a ball haystack shape in the hot oil with the the fryer net, till the strips become crisp and they are no longer flexible.
Use the fryer net to place the crispy haystack yellow sweet potato on a wire screen roasting rack on a pan to drain off any excess oil.
Season with sea salt.
Keep the haystack warm on a stove top.
Grilled Smoked Pork Chop:
Not all smoked pork chops are created equal. Most smoked pork chops that are sold at grocery stores are flavored with artificial smoke and they are a second rate product. Good butcher shops carry quality smoked meats. Smoked pork chops are almost always cured before smoking. Hickory/white oak smoked pork chops are best for this recipe.
Lightly brush an 8 ounce smoked pork chop with melted unsalted butter.
Heat a char grill or ribbed cast iron griddle to a medium/medium high temperature.
Grill the smoked pork chop on both sides, till it becomes hot. Try to create crosscheck grill marks.
Keep the grilled smoked pork chop warm on a stove top. The beurre blanc can be made while the pork chop cooks.
Sweet Bermuda Onion and Mushrooms en Tarragon Beurre Blanc:
Cut 2 1/4 ounces of unsalted butter or plugra butter into small butter pats. Chill the butter pats in a refrigerator. (To create a beurre blanc, cold butter must meet hot wine reduction!)
Cut 2 medium size button cave mushrooms into medium thick slices.
Heat a small saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Saute and sear the mushrooms, till they become tender and lightly browned.
Add 1 1/3 cups of dry white wine.
Add 3 tablespoons of diced bermuda onion.
Add 2 generous pinches of finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves.
Season with sea salt and white pepper.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Rapidly simmer and reduce, till most of the liquid evaporates and the wine looks like a very thin syrup.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Keep the pan over a warm place on the stove top. If the oven is on, then the stove top will be warm.
Add 1 to 3 butter pats at a time, while constantly moving the pan in a circular motion. Occasionally stir with a whisk or saucing spoon if necessary.
As the first few butter pats melt and emulsify, add a few more. Continue rapidly moving the pan in a circular motion.
Continue this process, till all of the butter is emulsified to create the beurre blanc.
Keep the sauce warm on a stove top while the plate is set and try to use the sauce immediately.
Côtelette de Porc Fumé aux oignon doux champignons à l'estragon beurre blanc, carotte pourpre, et meule de foin patate douce jaune:
Place the sweet potato haystack on the back quarter of a plate.
Place the 2 long purple carrot triangles on the center of the plate, so the angle off and point toward the other back quarter of the plate.
Place the grilled smoked pork chop over the wide ends of the carrot slices on the center of the plate, so it leans against the haystack.
Spoon some of the Sweet Bermuda Onion and Mushrooms en Tarragon Beurre Blanc on the front half of the plate around the pork chop. (I over sauced the plate in the photos, but a little extra beurre blanc is always nice.)
No garnish is necessary!
Just forget about the old worn out three color red, white and green plate presentation rule. That rule is as outdated as brontosaurus steaks. There are far more color combinations in the rainbow. The colors of today's entree presentation clearly state that this is the autumn season! Yum! ... Shawna