If you’re like me, dinner is often a consequence of what’s in the refrigerator, and on this particular night, I found a bunch of baby portobello mushrooms that needed to be used before they spoiled. I could have served them as a separate vegetable, but they seemed like a natural pairing with the pork chops I had just bought. A little marsala wine, plus a small bit of cream that was left over, would elevate those pork chops from ordinary to sublime.
It’s easy to overcook pork chops because they’re so lean. If you can find some with a little marbling, great, but that isn’t so easy. Marinating or brining helps, but knowing when to pull them off the grill or the stove is the most important step in avoiding a tough piece of meat.
I don’t use a meat thermometer for pork chops or steaks, but instead have learned to test meat with the finger test. It’s got to have a little softness in it when you touch it, like the fleshy part of your hand. If you let it cook until it feels hard, then it’s overcooked. It takes getting used to, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll never overcook meat again. Click here to get a more detailed guide on using the finger test for doneness of meats.
- 2 thick pork chops (about ¾" thick)
- To marinate the pork chops:
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 T. butter
- 8 ounces baby portobello (or button) mushrooms, sliced
- 2 T. olive oil
- ¼ marsala wine
- ¼ cup chicken stock (or water)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- parsley, minced
- About an hour before cooking, marinate the pork chops in the olive oil, soy sauce and minced garlic.
- Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the mushrooms on high heat. You want to get a nice sear on the mushrooms and let the water in them evaporate.
- When the mushrooms have turned a nice golden brown color, remove them from the pan and set aside with any remaining liquid from the mushrooms.
- Drain the pork chops from the marinate and dredge them in flour, salt and pepper. Shake off any excess flour.
- Place the oil in the same pan as you cooked the mushrooms and turn the heat to medium high. Add the pork chops and quickly sear on each side. This should take only a couple of minutes on each side.
- Lower the heat, add the marsala wine and the chicken stock, stirring to incorporate them.
- Flip the pork chops once to give both sides exposure to the liquid, then add the cream and swirl in, flipping again. Add the mushrooms back to the pan and cook until everything is heated through and just until the pork chops are done. Do not overcook. The meat should still have some "give" in it when you press it with a fork or with your fingers. If it's overcooked, it will feel hard.
- Sprinkle with minced parsley.