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Pork Chops with Imperial Wit Mustard sauce

The basis of any classic preparation lies in simplicity - get the details right, and everything else will fall into place on its own. Fresh meat with uniform thickness and marbling; homebrewed beer with plenty of flavor; Dutch mustard, thick with seeds and on the savory side; healthy portions of butter, hand-rolled in Wisconsin. The devil is in the details, as they say.

The beer I chose to pair with the pork, both as a part of the sauce and for drinking, is an Imperial wit. A former NB kit that incorporates honey, paradise seeds, coriander, and the rich tropical fruit character of Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit. As part of the sauce, the beer rounds out the sharp and savory mustard, complementing with phenols, contrasting with esters and a hint of alcohol. As a liquid accompaniment, the slight sweetness and citrusy tang cut through the opulent meat and cleanse the palate, preparing for the next delicious bite. The technique for this dish, again, targets simplicity, and can be broken up into a few basic steps: cook the chops, avoiding crowding the pan, with a good amount of fat. Sauté scallions/onions in remaining fat. Deglaze the pan with beer, thicken/season the resulting pan sauce, and serve! Endless variations are possible - try cubed sirloin with a malty brown ale, chicken thighs with a peppery saison, or the classic Belgian pairing, rabbit and kriek.

Ingredients: 4 pork chops, on the thicker side 2 tbsp butter 1tsp oil 4 shallots, chopped 7 oz Imperial Wit or similar blonde Belgian ale 7 oz heavy cream 2 tbsp good-quality mustard. I used Boetje's salt and pepper to taste side dishes - asparagus, potatoes, all that

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Process: Season the chops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter together in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the chops, cook ~ 4 minutes per side, or until done to your liking. Set aside and keep warm. Add the chopped shallots, give them a chance to brown slightly with the fond in the pan. Once the shallots are soft, add the beer, using it to deglaze the pan. Cook the beer for a few minutes so it reduces slightly. Whisk in cream and mustard and bring to just shy of boiling. Reduce the heat, simmer for 3-5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve the sauce either on the side or on top of the chops, according to your preference. Serve with more Imperial wit or a spicy saison.