- Serving Size: Serves 4
- 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 lb. 12 oz.), peeled and cut into large chunks
- Kosher salt
- 4 oz. crème fraîche (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lb. slab bacon, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and crosswise into 1/2-inch lardons
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 oz. veal demi-glace, such as Demi-Glace Gold
- 2 Tbs. green peppercorns, preferably jarred, rinsed
- 4 bone-in rib pork chops (about 3 lb. total), trimmed and frenched
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped watercress, plus small sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
1. Put the potatoes in a large pot, and add a liberal sprinkle of salt and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add the crème fraîche, butter, mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
2. Put a rimmed baking sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 200°F. Put the lardons in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until crisp, 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate.
3. Cook the shallots in the fat remaining in the pan, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the pan is mostly dry, 6 minutes. Add the demi-glace with 2 cups of water, and whisk to incorporate. Add the green peppercorns, and keep warm.
4. Generously season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the chops, in batches if necessary, while spooning oil from the pan over the bone to baste until each side is deep golden brown. Using a pair of tongs, lift the chops to sear the sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the chops to the rimmed baking sheet in the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 135°F, about 7 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, stir the heavy cream into the sauce and bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 7 minutes. Fold the chopped watercress and tarragon into the potatoes.
7. Divide the potatoes among four plates, lean a chop on the potatoes, drizzle with the sauce, and top with a few lardons, a couple of sprigs of watercress, and a few grinds of black pepper.
-Ronne Day for Fine Cooking