Thinking of cooking something fabulous and French this weekend-Friday Date, Saturday Night Friends or Sunday Dinner, this one is gonna make the grade. A Richard Olney specialty from Simple French Food – Gratin of Chops and Vegetables with Brioche à tête, and olives.
When I read this recipe, there was nothing fancy in the name or the ingredients. Don’t let that fool you. The dish was like a scalloped potato dish (sans the cheese). I made a couple/slight changes to the ingredients, and you can too. I used a technique called a bombine methode -where vegetables, potatoes, and a parsley/garlic-mince layered with the chops covered in water are slowly cooked on the stove and in oven which in turn make this a gratin.
Another addition to round out the meal was the Brioche I spent two days making-A french Pastry-light yeast bread made with lots of butter and eggs. Can be served as a dinner roll which is called Brioche à tête, made in a fluted round/flared tin to look like a roll with a head on top or like a Brioche Nanterre which is made in a standard loaf pan. If you have time this weekend, try it. Otherwise, buy some rolls and olives to round out a very nice simple French meal.
So let’s get to the main dish-Gratin of Chops and Vegetables by Richard Olney from Simple French Food (with slight adaptations) See pics at end of recipe.
4 1-inch shoulder chops, outside fat removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound, yellow-fleshed potatoes,(IMPORTANT-the other kinds of potatoes will cook more like a stew disintegrating the potato and not holding their shape) sliced about 1/4 inch thick
6-8 scallions (or 1 medium sweet onion), finely sliced
Persillade (handful finely chopped parsley mixed with a clove garlic pounded to a paste in a mortar)
4-5 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
4 tender artichokes, pared halved, chokes removed, sliced and coated in olive oil. (I used artichokes from a jar)
1 teaspoon powdered mixed herbs (I used Herbs de Provence)
Water (to cover)
Brown the chops, salted in olive oil, remove to a plate and deglaze the pan with the white wine, reducing by about half. Pack half of the vegetable mixture (I layered each vegetable separately) into the bottom of a fairly shallow oven casserole, place the chops on top, sprinkle over the delazing juice, layer the rest of the vegetables, and pour over the water to cover (I covered evenly to the vegetable line). Bring to a boil and cook, covered, at a simmer for a half hour. Uncover the casserole and bake in 375 degree temperature oven for about one hour, adding a bit of boiling water after forty minutes or so if it seems to be drying out. I did not add any water- as it appeared to be enough and acted as a nice sauce on top of the chops and gratin.