When boneless pork loin roasts are on sale, I buy one. Its not an inexpensive cut of meat, but if you have a big knife (and if you don’t, stop reading and buy one immediately) you can easily cut such a pork loin into chops of any thickness you desire, and have enough for at least two meals for a reasonably hungry family of four. I generally cut a pork loin into 8-10 chops, use 4 at a time and freeze the remainder until I am ready for them, which means we get meat for 3 meals for about $8.00.
One of my favorite pork chop inventions of late is in the Fauxtalian vein. It is in no way authentic (unless I have accidentally duplicated an actual recipe handed down through generations of some Italian family with which I am presently unacquainted) but uses several ingredients that are traditionally Italian. Because the chops cut from a boneless loin roast are very lean (save for the layer of fat across the top) they really require slow cooking with some liquid (a braise) in order to be tender. As long as you are cooking them in liquid, the liquid should be flavorful. Try this out, and feel free to experiment with other herbs, pre-cut, bone-in chops, fresh mushrooms…whatever takes your fancy.
Pork Chops Via Foresta
- 4-6 pork chops
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons dried or fresh Rosemary
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup veal, chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup Cream, Half & Half or Reduced Fat Half & Half
- 1/2 cup white wine
In a bowl, add water to dried mushrooms. Set aside.
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add pork chops and sprinkle with salt and Rosemary. Cook for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
Add broth to pan and reduce heat to a simmer; simmer until chops are tender. (20-30 minutes, depending on thickness).
Remove chops and keep warm. Raise heat and reduce liquid remaining in pan. When no more than about 1/4 inch of liquid remains, reduce heat to medium-low and add wine and stir in, scraping the bottom to release what’s stuck to the bottom. Allow to simmer and reduce a bit as you strain mushrooms. Add mushrooms and cream to the sauce, and continue to cook until mushrooms are tender (if they were not already). Taste sauce and adjust seasoning Serve chops with polenta or risotto, topped with a generous portion of mushroom sauce.