Sunday, January 1, 2012

For My Farmboy...

There are several things that I only cook for my husband, and the following recipe is one of them. His mother is one of the coolest people I've ever known and gave me a fantastic family cookbook for our wedding (among many other things) with short stories about who the recipe came from, complete with photos. It has turned into the gift I will give each of my kids as they marry. It's pretty special and I use it all of the time. This particular recipe is heavily influenced by a recipe of hers.  Thanks, Mom! You're a genius.
I realize that some people shudder to use butter or cream or pork. I normally don't cook pork or heavy foods, but for a weekend with manual labor involved, the calories burn much faster. Be brave. Every once in a while, indulge. Perhaps eat salad plate portions instead. This recipe is a keeper.

2 large shallots
1 pint button mushrooms
2 boxes Uncle Ben's original wild rice
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans milk or half & half
3-6 pork chops (I used bone in, medium thickness chops this time.)
1 stick unsalted butter (You won't go to hell for it. I promise.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

First, I chop the shallots very small and try not to cry. Next, I dice the mushrooms. I use actual, real butter and organic ingredients. The flavor is most robust this way. I saute the shallots on medium heat in 2 tbspn. butter until they are almost carmelized, just past the translucent phase when they begin to brown. I saute the mushrooms in 3 tbspns. butter until they are softened, but not until they are golden, as I don't want them to be mushy in the rice, but firm and flavorful.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, mix one can of cream of mushroom soup in a medium mixing bowl with one can of half & half until it is well blended. Dump seasoning packets and wild rice into the creamy soup mix. Spoon shallots and mushrooms into the rice/soup mix. Stir until it incorporates well.
Pour into a 9X13 inch baking pan. Cook your pork chops on medium to medium high heat. Season your chops with salt and pepper {optional: rub with minced garlic, then salt & pepper} generously on both sides. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into your pan. For this meal, I use cast iron. Cook the chops for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness. They should be slightly seared and golden when you flip them.
Once they are seared, move them over to the baking dish. Mix the remaining soup can with a can of milk and pour it into the skillet on low heat, scraping the bits of mushroom, shallot and pork chop off the bottom. {This is called deglazing the pan.} Once the pan is deglazed and the sauce is mixed well, pour the mixture over the pork chops in the baking dish and cover it with foil.
before baking
Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes and prepare yourself for an old fashioned hearty meal. When you have about 15 minutes left on the timer, make a salad or some green beans or asparagus. You'll want something green to eat as a side with this meal. It will make you feel slightly less guilty for the stick of butter we used. Really, it will.
after baking

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