Ooh, la la! Champers & Chops!
Champagne is a commonly invited guest on New Year’s and to celebrations year ‘round. For a charming and out of the ordinary idea, why not try out a recipe that calls for a bit of champagne as an ingredient? Using champagne in recipes is not unlike cooking with wine. An expensive bottle of bubbly is not a requirement, and whatever is left over in the bottle will remain potable for a week or so. Both wine and champagne transform to vinegar somewhat quickly after opening; hence you do not want that pungent, bite to ruin your meal.
However, if the opportunity fails to arise and you are unable to use the leftover champagne, don’t despair. It will function nicely as a fine, champagne vinegar. Domestic champagnes work well in recipes. For the budget-conscious, non-sparkling white wines can be substituted for champagne in most recipes. During the cooking process, the alcohol content will burn out, but keep in mind that even a small quantity of alcohol can elicit a reaction in those who are allergic, or are recovering alcoholics.
What makes champagne dry (not sweet) or sweet depends upon the concluding dosage which is a mixture of sugar and wine that is added prior to bottling. This process creates carbonation: bubbly champagne. Pink champagne is derived from pressings that are allowed to remain on the skins longer than usual―the tincture of the pinot noir grape skin “blushes” the juice. The label on champagne bottle label determines the intensity of sweetness as listed below:
• brut: arid to near-dry; less than 1.5% sugar
• extra sec or extra dry: somewhat sweeter; 2% sugar
• sec: middling sweet; 1.8% to 3.4% sugar (a dessert wine)
• demi-sec: very sweet; 3.4% to 5% sugar (a dessert wine)
• doux: extremely sweet; +5 % sugar (a dessert wine)
Creamy Champagne Pork Chop Ingredients
4 medium red potatoes skin-on and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
Salt and fresh black pepper
1 TBSP Extra-Virgin olive oil
6 pork loin chops (5-6oz a piece)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 cup of dry Champagne
1 TBSP white, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% milk
Place the garlic and red potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover in water. Next, place saucepan over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 9 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Carefully drain the skillet and return garlic and potatoes to the saucepan. Add sour cream and mash to desired consistency. Mix in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium- heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place the chops in the hot, oiled skillet. Sauté for about 2 minutes on each side―until golden brown. Remove from skillet. In that same skillet, add chopped shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and nearly transparent Add tarragon and thyme and cook and additional minute; until aromatic. Add Champagne and cook for another minute. Whisk flour and milk and add to skillet. Return pork to skillet and simmer 4 minutes, until pork is thoroughly cooked and sauce has thickened. Serve pork chops with sauce and mashed potatoes.