French in a Flash: Pork Chops with Norman Cider Cream Sauce and Thyme

These days, living in London just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Channel, I'm milking my family in Normandy for all they're worth. Just don't tell them I'm only visiting so I can get my hands on their fantastic locally pressed cidre buché. It translates to "corked cider," which doesn't really do much to describe it. Imagine the Champagne of ciders made with apples instead of grapes, but just as dry, elegant, and bubbly. If Champagne is a beautiful blonde, then cidre buché is a stunning redhead: more elusive, but also more characterful. It's worth looking for.

I don't think any meal I've ever made has lived up to the name of this column more honestly than this one. I take rustic bone-in pork chops and season them with sea salt, cracked pepper, and leaves of fresh thyme. After searing them off, I deglaze the pan with that dry Normandy apple cider. It bubbles down into a dry but fruity, delicious sauce, full of the pork juices that collected in the pan, and mellowed with a touch of Normandy cream. It's my version of pork chops with apple sauce. And it's the kind of French cooking that I love; the rustic and classic kind you'd find in front of the fireplace in someone's house, not on the menu of a fancy restaurant. Bon app!