Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beer and Mushroom Pork Chops

From Beer Advocate:

Beer and Mushroom Pork Chops

  • 1 pint or so of dark ale; anything nice and malty will do 
  • 4 pork chops; good and thick 
  • 1 big yellow onion, or two small ones 
  • Big pile of mushrooms (20 or so) 
  • Some oil for cooking 
  • Some cornstarch (1 or 2 tbsp) 
  • Clove or two of garlic, crushed or finely chopped (optional) 
  • Shot of cold water 
  • Grainy mustard 
  • Salt and pepper; to taste

First, salt and pepper the chops on both sides. Trim off any obvious fat chunks, unless you're really into hardening your arteries. Set the chops aside while you get the other stuff ready, so they can sit for a few minutes.  
Find a pint of ale. If your ale comes in 355 ml bottles, you can either make do with one bottle, or open two bottles and then drink almost half of one. More beer means more sauce, and this is good sauce. A bit of beef stock can also be added, to change the flavour. This is especially useful if your dark ale isn't all that dark. 
Slice up the onion into thin rings or half-rings.  
Thinly slice the mushrooms. 
Find a pan big enough to fit all the chops easily. Ideally, it should be nice and deep, two inches is perfect. A cast iron Texas skillet works very well if you have one. If you have a lid for the pan, dig it out. If you don't, grab the aluminum foil or fashion a lid somehow.  
Heat the pan on medium-high, and when hot add a tablespoon or so of your cooking oil. Swirl it around to coat the pan. Toss in the mushrooms and the onions. Stir frequently, don't let them burn! Nothing will happen at first, but then some water will come out of the mushrooms so they'll look wet, and the bottom of the pan might be partly or totally covered in water. This is good. When the water starts to come out of the mushrooms, stir in a pinch of salt. 
If you want to add the garlic, crush a clove in a press or chop it up really fine, and toss it into the pan at this point. Keep stirring and cooking for a few more minutes. When they mostly dry out (but don't let them burn!) they're done. Dump the mushrooms and onions out into a bowl, and make sure you keep any juice that is left at the bottom of the pan.  
Add in another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and let the pan heat up for a moment. Lay the chops into the pan. Let them brown for a minute or two on each side so they get nice and golden.  
Once they're nicely browned, pour in the beer. Take your spatula and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the nice browned bits up into the sauce. Stir in a teaspoon of the grainy mustard. Carefully add the mushrooms and onions back into the pan. Grab your lid or foil, and cover it up well. Turn down the heat to low and let the whole thing barely simmer for about eight minutes -- less if your chops are thin and more if they're really thick.  
While this is simmering, take a small cup with a shot of cold water, and dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch in it. Stir it up really well until it's completely smooth.  
When the chops are finished simmering, uncover them. Pour in the corn starch mixture and stir it all around immediately. Let it simmer for a minute more uncovered. This should make the sauce nice and saucy. If you want it thicker still, mix up some more corn starch and water, stir it in and simmer for a minute more.  
Finally, taste the sauce. Grind in a bit of black pepper, and add some salt if it needs it. If you want more grainy mustard, add more grainy mustard.  
Serve the whole thing on top of noodles or mashed potatoes and, of course, with a glass of beer.
This was great. I used pre-sliced mushrooms (because I'm lazy) and I used some of my homebrewed milk stout. I served it with mashed potatoes, green beans and, of course, beer bread.

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