Friday, March 11, 2011

Mmm Mmm Good!

I'm playing a little bit of catch up here, I made this meal days ago.  But trust me, it's worth the wait.
This dinner basically came about because I had a small amount of mascarpone left over from the mousse I made for Saturday's dinner party.  It seems as though the mascarpone people over in Italy are conspiring to get us to buy more of their deliciously creamy cheese.  It comes in 8.75oz tubs, which is sort of an odd size.  No matter that this equals a perfectly even number on the metric system, if it helps to justify buying more right?  Anyway, I needed 16oz for the mousse, which did leave a small amount left over.  So I used it for this dinner, which will inevitably lead to buying more, due to the deliciousness that resulted.
I wanted to make a simple dinner, and I had some nice thick boneless pork chops I had bought the day before.  I decided to make the old stand by of sauteed pork chops with a pan sauce, and I thought the mascarpone could take the usual pan sauce made with butter and make it really special.  I was right, since I remembered to post about it days later.  (One good thing I noticed is that mascarpone contains less fat than butter, another reason to buy more.)
So this is what I made:
Sauteed boneless pork chops with mushroom marsala pan sauce
Green beans with caramelized onions and thyme
Wild mushroom & herb rice pilaf (from a box!)

Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Sliced onions
Sliced shiitake and cremini mushrooms
Boneless pork chops
Green beans
1/2t dried thyme
1/2C marsala
1T mascarpone

To start, I melted a little butter in some olive oil in a large saute pan, added some sliced onions and a little salt.  I kept the burner on low, and let the onions cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, while I prepped the rest of the meal and did some other things around the house.  Once the onions were very soft, I turned the heat up to medium and let them cook for about another 20 minutes, until they were well browned.  Then I removed them to a bowl.
I sprayed another saute pan with olive oil and sauteed the sliced mushrooms until they were soft, then removed to another bowl.
I wanted these 2 things done first so that the rest of the cooking would be done quickly.
To start the pork chops, first I preheated the oven to 400.  Then I added 1T butter and 1/2T olive oil to the pan that I used for the mushrooms on low heat.  I sprinkled salt & pepper on the pork chops, and then dredged them in flour.  Once the butter in the pan was melted, I turned the heat up to medium-high.  When the butter stopped foaming I added the pork chops, and cooked for about 3 minutes on each side.
While the pork chops were cooking, I added the following to the pan I used to caramelize the onions: 1/3C water, 1T olive oil, green beans and dried thyme.  I set the pan over medium-high heat so the water would boil, and then covered to steam the beans for about 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
Once the pork chops were nicely browned on both sides, I put the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, so the chops would just cook though.
Once the beans were tender I removed the cover from the pan, stirred in the caramelized onions, and left it to heat through on medium.
When the pork chops were done, I removed them to a plate and put the pan back on the stovetop over medium high heat.  I added the marsala along with the mushrooms and stirred them around in the pan, to get the brown bits on the bottom to loosen.  Once the marsala was reduced by about half, I removed the pan from the heat and stirred in the mascarpone.  The I poured the pan sauce with the mushrooms over the pork chops.
(I also made a box of rice, but I'll skip those details.)
This dinner was so good! The sweet mascarpone was a nice complement to the earthiness of the mushrooms.  The crisp green beans were very good with the thyme and the soft, sweet caramelized onions.  This is a dinner I'm sure Corey will be asking for soon, but I might make it again before he has the chance!

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