pork chops smothered in sauteed chanterelles and
accompanied by a simple and quick cucumber salad are a
delicious way to use mushrooms this fall.
out inspires dinner at home. Especially when the restaurant
meal features seasonal ingredients with easy to re-create
preparations. After a day of bicycling in Austria, a
stunning skillet of golden pork chops smothered in
pfifferlings proved splendid inspiration. Ditto for the
accompanying crispy-crunchy kartoffelkroketten (potato
timing, too, since all manner of mushrooms populate most
markets in the fall. Golden-hued, funnel-shaped pfifferlings,
aka chanterelles, appear in generous portions on all manner
of dishes in Germany and Austria. Little wonder, with their
subtle peppery taste, rich flavor and pleasing, toothsome
texture. Here, fresh chanterelles can be found at farmers
markets, produce stores and specialty stores such as Whole
Foods. They also can be ordered online, fresh or dried. Both
are quite pricey, but a little goes a long way.
mushrooms taste best when sauteed over high heat with a hint
of aromatic seasonings. I like to combine several varieties
to keep costs low and to take advantage of their individual
textures. My favorite medley includes thinly sliced shiitake
caps with chunks of oyster mushrooms and a small handful of
those colorful chanterelles. Or course, a couple of morel
mushrooms elevate any dish they grace. If button or cremini
mushrooms prove the only fresh option, I enhance their
subtle flavor with the complexity of dried mushrooms. I find
that even the least expensive pieces of dried mushrooms pack
a deep mushroom flavor.
onion and fresh garlic make a great addition to the
mushrooms. If your farmers market sells those elongated red
tropea onions, use them for their color and sweetness.
Otherwise, employ a small red onion or a couple of shallots.
A sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, thyme
and oregano, promote this simple sauteed side to company
mixture handled, its time to talk skillet pork chops. Our
Austrian repast featured perfectly cooked moist chops with a
golden exterior. At home, I bring out the cast-iron skillet
and crank the heat both stove top and in the oven. I
like to briefly brown the chops in a single uncrowded layer
in oil suitable for high-heat cooking and then finish their
cooking in a very hot oven using the convection option for
speed. This two-step cooking captures moisture in even the
leanest of chops.
skillet cooking, I prefer somewhat thin pork chops: 3/4-inch
chops cook evenly and quickly. Center cut, bone-in loin
chops offer amazing flavor and make a beautiful
presentation. A simple seasoning of salt and freshly ground
pepper lets the delicate flavor of the pork shine through
when topped with the herby mushroom mixture.
croquettes sound hard to make. Not so much if you think of
them simply as mashed potatoes coated in crunchy crumbs and
pan-crisped. I add fresh chives and black pepper for flavor.
A bonus: The croquettes can be shaped several hours in
advance and crisped while the chops cook.
cucumbers, marinated in salt and garlic, add a crunchy
element to the plate with little effort. Dinner at home is
under control time to get back on the bicycle. First
stop: The market.
PORK CHOPS WITH SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
can substitute 1/4 cup dried mushrooms (rehydrated in warm
water, then drained and chopped) for 1/4 pound of the fresh.
pound assorted fresh mushrooms, such as chanterelles,
shiitake, oyster, button, cremini
center-cut, bone-in pork chops, each a scant 3/4-inch thick,
about 3 pounds total
ground black pepper
large tropea onion or 1 small red onion
2 to 3
tablespoons safflower, sunflower or expeller-pressed canola
teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried
2 or 3
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chives
Clean mushrooms: Discard stems from shiitake mushrooms, trim
stems of other mushrooms. Wipe caps clean. Cleaned mushrooms
can be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag for a day
or two. Before using, cut large mushrooms into 1 inch slices
pork chops dry. Sprinkle generously on both sides with salt
and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour or
refrigerate up to 24 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees on
conventional oven setting. Finely chop the onion or shallots
and garlic. Have the herbs ready. Set all ingredients near
When the oven is hot, heat 1 large or 2 medium well-seasoned
cast-iron skillet(s) over medium-high heat until drops of
water sizzle vigorously when added to the pan. Swirl a film
of oil in the bottom of the pan or pans. Add the chops in a
single uncrowded layer. Cook on medium-high until the
bottoms are golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Use tongs to flip the
chops and brown the other side, 2 minutes more. Carefully
slide the skillet or skillets with the chops into the oven
to finish the cooking, 3-4 minutes. Pan juices should run
clear and chops will be almost firm (but not hard) to the
Transfer the chops to a wire rack set over a tray to collect
the juices. Tent the chops with foil to keep them warm.
the skillet from the chops over medium-high heat; swirl in
half of the butter. Add half of the mushrooms, onion and
garlic; cook until golden, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Repeat with remaining mushrooms, onion and garlic. Combine
all the mushrooms in the skillet; tip in any of the juices
from the chops. Stir in the thyme.
Arrange the chops on a warm platter; spoon the mushrooms
over the chops. Sprinkle with the parsley or chives; serve.
information per serving: 312 calories, 17 g fat, 5 g
saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrates, 34 g
protein, 364 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
medium russet baking potatoes (about 1 Ό pounds total),
scrubbed, peeled if desired
cup half-and-half or milk
large egg yolk
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cup loosely packed finely chopped chives or green onions
panko or other coarse breadcrumbs
cup safflower, sunflower or expeller-pressed canola oil
potatoes into 2-inch cubes; put into a large saucepan. Add
salted water to cover the potatoes. Heat over high to a
rolling boil; reduce heat to a gentle rolling boil. Cook
until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain off the water. Working in the pan, mash the potatoes
with the half-and-half, egg yolk, salt and pepper until
smooth. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then stir in
the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Use your hands to shape
the potato mixture into small football shapes, using 3
generous tablespoons per piece. Roll in the crumbs to coat
on all sides. Set on a wire rack for a few minutes or up to
several hours. Repeat to continue making croquettes, youll
have 12 to 14.
Heat oil and butter in a very large skillet over medium-high
heat until hot but not smoking. Add the croquettes in a
single uncrowded layer. Fry, turning gently, until golden
and crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
information per serving: 282 calories, 16 g fat, 4 g
saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 31 g carbohydrates, 5 g
protein, 321 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
large or 2 medium seedless cucumbers
2 or 3
cloves garlic, crushed
the cucumbers, if you like. Cut lengthwise in half; slice
very thinly. Put into a colander; stir in the garlic and
salt. Let drain over a plate, 30 minutes. Use clean hands to
squeeze out the excess liquid. Put cucumbers in a bowl; stir
in the parsley. Refrigerate to chill a few minutes or up to
information per serving: 7 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated
fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 292
mg sodium, 0 g fiber