Hearty mushrooms have Fall written all over them.
A box of mushrooms and super thick pork chops, so fresh in the butcher’s counter that I could not resist them, pulled this recipe idea together in no time. I went full on fall with a hearty mushroom sauce. All from the grocery store, the box, nestled on a high shelf between the cremini and porcini caught my eye with that burst of yellow. Unfortunately the color faded in the cooking, but the taste was extraordinary. Mushrooms are a flavor of which I never can tire. The flavor is easily enhanced with a light sauté in butter with some fresh herbs or roasted in the oven along side a chicken. Either sliced raw in a salad or roasted, they add a woodsy, musky tasting component. And who can scoff at Mushroom Bisque with a sprinkle of fresh tarragon?
Mushrooms are one of the new “it” food, yes?
Yes! Mushrooms are ranking in the health category. I love it when something I have always eaten makes it into the healthy listing. Kale was great for a while, but these are much more tasty and versatile. B vitamins flourish in this little bit of fungus and contain the antioxidant selenium. From heart health to possibly helping with cancer prevention to staving off Alzheimers, mushrooms are having their moment. I would say in the sun, but as we know, they do prefer the dark.
Can I forage in the woods?
Only if you know what you are doing. Period. Mushrooms found in the woods may look and smell lovely, but if you don’t know what is what, stay away. Grocery store or farmer’s markets are safer places to buy them. Check your local farmer’s markets websites to find which ones might have a grower, forager, or seller.
Do they all taste the same?
No. described as smoky, earthy, musky, to umami, they all have slight nuances and subtleties. Use a variety or one type, and the flavor and pungency of a dish can change from mild to strong. As an example, Bigos, a hearty hunter’s stew from Poland, uses dried mushrooms and it is a very pronounced flavor (we did a vegan Bigos one last winter and used mushrooms as the “meat”). Portobellos, the size of a hand are often used for vegans or vegetarians when grilling. Bun, ketchup, perfect burger substitute with a flavor that takes to the charring of the grill.
KEY to this recipe:
Brining Pork Chops is the only way to ensure a moist cut of meat whether roasting, grilling or coking on the stovetop. This will add between 1-4 hours to prepare this recipe. Below is a list of different brining recipes and techniques:
BLEUBERET METHOD OF BRINING:
2 cups/500ml boiling water
2 cups/500g ice cubes
2 TBSP Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt (NOT ALL SALT IS THE SAME, READ ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES)
1 TBSP dried savory
1 TBSP dried marjoram
1 large ziplock baggie
large measuring cup that can hold the baggie upright while pouring the water in
bowl large enough to accommodate the baggie with the meat and the ice cubes
- Boil water
- line measuring cup with baggie
- add herbs, salt and boiling water to the baggie
- mix until the salt is dissolved
- pull baggie top back up and add ice cubes to cool off the water
- place baggie into a bowl, or if it has a gusseted bottom, stand it up
- add pork chops and submerge
- allow to rest room temp (the ice will keep it cold) for an hour or place in the fridge for up to 8 hours
- when ready, remove from brine, pat dry with a paper towel and allow to rest in a bowl to dry a bit more
- butterfly the pork chop
- Proceed to recipe for Mushrooms, Grilled Pork Chops & Sour Cream
Anne Burrell starts with aromatic for her brined pork chops.
The Kitchn has a recipe that is salt based rather than sugar/salt based. (I prefer a salt based one, and never find that it needs the sugar to offset the taste, but this is personal preference.)
Epicurious’ brine recipe goes heavy on the spices, which adds another flavor enhancement.
Mushrooms, Grilled Pork Chops & Sour CreamPrint Recipe
- 4 thick cut, boneless pork chops
- 8oz/225g mixed mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 8 fl.oz/250ml chicken broth
- 8 oz/250g sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Follow one of the brine recipes listed above.
Remove the pork chops from the brine and place in a bowl or plate that will allow the excess water to drip off and the outside of the pork chops to dry a bit. (The brine will not leak out.)
Allow to sit in the fridge for up to an hour or on the counter for 20-25 minutes (if a cool day, do not do this in 90°F/32°C heat, use the fridge).
Prepare the grill.
When the grill is ready, butterfly the pork chops (see photo above).
In the meantime, start the sauce.
Sauté onions and mushrooms in butter until softened.
Bring to a boil and reduce by half.
Add sour cream and blend well. Set aside and reheat gently when the pork chops are done.
Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature 165°F.
Place grilled pork chop on a plate. Fill with mushroom sauce.
It should close partially, or make a slightly larger cut on the hinged side.
Close the top slightly and spoon more sauce on the top.
The portions may be a bit large, so after doing the presentation and receiving the oohs and aah, cut them in half to make the eatable size. A simple green vegetable or small salad on the side is all that is needed to round out this hearty meal.