The savvy mustard-makers of Dijon have done such a good marketing job that today the town is synonymous with the classic aromatic French mustard flavored with wine and herbs. In this recipe you can take your pick of smooth or grainy mustard, with or without herbal or fruity flavorings. Veal chops, particularly with this creamy sauce, suggest to me a similarly luxurious vegetable, fresh asparagus perhaps, or fine green beans.

Serves 4

  • 4 veal chops (about 2 pounds/900 grams total)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6-ounce/170-gram piece of lean bacon, cut in lardons
  • 16 to 18 baby onions (about 8 ounces/225 grams total), peeled
  • 1 tablespoon/7 grams/1/4 ounce flour
  • 3/4 cup/175 milliliters/6 fluid ounces white wine, preferably Chardonnay
  • 3/4 cup/175 milliliters/6 fluid ounces veal broth, more if needed
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters/2 fluid ounces crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Large sauté pan or frying pan

Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the sauté pan, add the bacon lardons and fry them over medium heat until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove them and set aside. Add the onions and brown them over medium heat, shaking the pan often so they color evenly, 7 to 10 minutes. Set them aside also. Lastly add the chops and brown them, allowing 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Take them out, whisk in the flour and cook until bubbling. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the veal broth and bring this sauce to a boil. Stir in the lardons, replace the chops, pushing them down into the sauce, and add the bouquet garni.

Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Add the onions and continue simmering until they are soft and the chops are tender when poked with a two-pronged fork, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops. Turn them from time to time and add more broth if the sauce gets thick.

When the chops are tender, transfer them to 4 warm plates. Discard the bouquet garni, stir the crème fraîche into the sauce and bring just to a simmer. Stir in the mustard and parsley and take the pan from the heat. The fresh, piquant taste of mustard turns bitter when overcooked, so it should not be boiled; always add it towards the end of cooking. Taste, adjust seasoning of the sauce and spoon it over the chops. Serve at once.

photo by France Ruffenach
by Anne Willan, Chronicle Books, 2007.