Saturday 9 June 2012

Pork Steaks with Wine, Tarragon and Mustard

I don’t need any encouragement to come up with a recipe that uses wine, because it’s one of those ingredients that adds instant flavour and complexity to so many home-cooked dishes. Here, I’ve paired juicy pork steaks with a voluptuous sauce of cream, mustard, tarragon and Nederburg’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay blend, created specially for Masterchef, in collaboration with Woolworths.

This is the seventh in a series of recipes for Woolworths South Africa, pantry sponsors of MasterChef South Africa.

Tarragon is a tricky herb to grow, and you don’t often see it fresh in the shops, but I’ve found that good-quality dried tarragon is a perfectly acceptable substitute. In fact, I’m at a loss to explain why dried herbs are so often considered inferior to fresh ones. Sure, some herbs (such as basil and parsley) do not lend themselves to drying, but others, and especially dried oregano, mint and tarragon, are valued ingredients in my spice drawer. For example, dried mint, much used in Moroccan cooking, is quite distinct in taste and aroma from fresh mint, with a peculiar charm all of its own. Top-quality dried Greek oregano has a heady pungency that leaves its fresh form in the starting blocks. Tarragon’s flavour does tend to intensify with heat, however, so use it sparingly.

You can use medallions of pork fillet for this dish, but I find they dry out quickly in the pan. I prefer Woolies’ pork steaks because they’re so lean, sweet and succulent (and, besides, I appreciate how economical pork is compared to beef or lamb). This is a quick, easy dish to make, but be sure to serve it piping hot from the pan, while the sauce is still smooth and silken.

My other recipes for Woolworths #wooliespantry:

Pork Steaks with Wine, Tarragon and Mustard
4 large pork steaks, or 8 small ones
3 Tbsp (45 ml) flour
white pepper
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
1½ cups (375 ml)2011 Nederburg Sauvignon/Chardonnay blend, or similar
¾ cup (180 ml) water
2 tsp (10 ml) dried tarragon
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Dijon mustard
½ cup (125 ml) cream

Trim any visible fat from the pork steaks. Put the flour on a plate and season it with salt and a little white pepper. Heat the olive oil and butter in large, shallow pan that will fit all the steaks on one layer. While the fat is heating, dip each steak in the seasoned flour, then shake to remove any excess. When the fat is very hot, but before the butter begins to brown, fry the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they have a nice golden crust, but are still slightly raw on the inside. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Drain any excess fat from the pan, but don’t wipe it out.

Pour the wine and water into the pan and stir to dislodge any brown bits on the bottom. Bubble briskly for 4-5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about a third. Now turn the heat right down and stir in the tarragon, mustard and cream. Simmer for two minutes, then return the steaks (and any juices that have accumulated underneath them) to the pan. Cook at a gentle burble for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly, and the steaks are cooked through. Shake the pan occasionally, and don’t allow the sauce to reduce too much or become gloopy – it should be just thick enough lightly to coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and white pepper if necessary, and serve immediately, with crushed baby potatoes and mangetout, or mash and peas.

Serves 4.

Cook's notes: 
  • Use a pan with a large surface area so that the wine and water reduce quickly. For a really glossy, rich finish, stir a teaspoon of butter into the sauce just before you serve it.
  • You can use medallions of pork fillet for this dish, but take care not to overcook them, as they toughen easily.
  • If you can find fresh tarragon, use that instead, but do so judiciously, as it has a more intense flavour than dried tarragon. Use one tablespoon of chopped leaves, and then taste the sauce at the end to see if you need to add more.
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Gerlinde in Washington said...

I had forgotten about Woolworths. They used to have an interesting food department I loved to visit when I lived in Canada.

Your pork steaks look delicious!

Easy Recipes said...

Very good work :) Bur personally i avoid pork !