Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pork Chops With Mushrooms and a Rosemary Pan Sauce

Before I began this post I had to do a little research on whether or not wine is paleo so that I could figure out what labels to give this post. Technically alcohol isn't paleo but it doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule. From what I read most people avoid the drinks that contain gluten and they moderately enjoy red wine for the health benefits of resveratrol. I had to look it up because there is 1/2C of white wine in this recipe but it is reduced to remove the alcohol. So the way I see it you'll end up with a touch of sugar. For those on Whole 30 definitely don't add the alcohol but if you are paleo, it's up to you. If you omit the wine you may need to adjust the thickness of the sauce with a touch more stock.

This is one of those dishes that doesn't take much time to make so this would be great for a weeknight dinner and for those who do not eat pork, chicken would also work in this recipe.

Chop 6 cremini mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic before you begin. If you'd like more mushrooms, a different type, or no mushrooms feel free to adjust the recipe.

Generously salt and pepper 6 thick cut pork chops. Over medium / medium high heat add just enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of a stainless steel skillet. If you add too much it just creates more splatters for you to clean up later. I also recommend stainless over non-stick because you'll get better browning. Cast iron would work if you are not using wine. I find that ingredients with a lot of acidity tend to develop a metallic taste when cooked in cast iron unless the iron is coated with ceramic.

Before you begin let me give you a heads up. While you are cooking, fond is going to develop in the bottom of the pan. These brown bits are going to help us create our pan sauce so keep on eye on them and turn down the heat if you need to to keep them from burning. If the fond burns then we won't be able to use them for a sauce. No worries, the stock and arrowroot can be heated together in another pan to create a sauce but the flavor won't be as good.

When the pan is hot place the chops into the pan laying them away from you so that any splatters will most likely jump away from you. If you do not hear a sizzle when the meat touches the pan then it is not hot enough so wait and try again. I find that if I move the chops a little after they are added they won't stick on the bottom of the pan as much. Either way, when they are brown and ready to flip they should release from the pan on their own.

After both sides of the pork chops have been browned transfer them to a plate and add the mushrooms. You may need to add more oil or ghee to the pan to cook the mushrooms. Initially the mushrooms will absorb the oil from the pan and when they are just about done you will notice that most of the oil will reappear in the pan. I prefer my mushrooms pretty dark but I think the fond will ultimately determine how brown you can get them. About a minute or so before the mushrooms are done add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic to the pan and saute for the remaining minute.

Add 1/2C of white wine to the mushrooms and garlic and allow it to cook until nearly reduced by half. Use a wine that you enjoy drinking. For this recipe I used a riesling. In a measuring cup dissolve 2t of arrowroot in 2C of cold broth, either chicken or mushroom, and add it to the pan. It is fine if the broth is room temperature, just not hot, because the arrowroot won't dissolve properly in hot liquid. Using a whisk, or whatever tool you like, stir the broth making a point to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the sauce begins to boil it will thicken. If you'd like it a little thicker use just enough cold water to dissolve another teaspoon of arrowroot and add it to the sauce. Return the pork chops to the pan and turn the heat down to medium and let them simmer for a few minutes. If you suspect they did not cook completely during the browning process because they are a thicker cut, place a lid on the pan and let them simmer for a few minutes.

At the very end add a whole sprig of fresh rosemary about 3-4" in length to the sauce and submerge it. Let it simmer in the sauce for a few minutes and then give the sauce a taste. I only cook it in the sauce for a few minutes because I prefer it with a hint of rosemary so that it doesn't overpower the other flavors of the sauce. If you'd like more of a rosemary flavor simply cook it a bit longer. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if you need to.

Remove the rosemary and serve. I'd say this recipe is roughly 30 minutes start to finish.

6 chops
6 cremini mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
1/2C white wine
2C of broth, either chicken or mushroom
2t of arrowroot starch
sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper