Monday, March 28, 2011

Pork with Marsala Wine Sauce

I realized with the last few posts that I am really needing nurturing - writing is very stressful! And I have been turning to things that to me convey comfort. As I am enforcing a stay-at-home lifestyle until this book gets done, I have started to cook things again that I normally order in restaurants. One of the things I love to eat in Italian restaurants is Chicken with Marsala Wine Sauce. And I always forget how easy it is to make at home. Many things that I order are easy to make and they are a lot less expensive when you do it yourself.

However, I didn't have any the chicken and didn't want to go to the store. I did have thin, boneless pork chops in the freezer so Pork with Marsala Wine Sauce was born. I loved it! I may love it even more than with chicken and I've never been very comfortable with veal. So, this recipe is a keeper and I am sharing it with you. Marsala is a sweet wine from Italy that is a lot like Port. It is a wine that I wouldn't drink by itself as I don't really like sweet wines, but in a sauce with shallots or onions and mushrooms, it is wonderful!

The basic technique is that you season and flour the pork (or chicken) and then cook it until browned in a mixture of butter and olive oil - the oil keeps the butter from burning. Since the pork chops (or pounded chicken breasts) are so thin, it doesn't take long if the heat is high enough. Then you remove them from the pan and cook the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Then it's time for the wine and some chicken broth to add a savory note. You can thicken the sauce by adding cream or you can use cornstarch as I did as it is already so rich with butter. You can serve this dish with either noodles or rice and a green vegetable - I served it with rice and steamed haricot verts. It would be great for company as it is so fast to prepare and it has such a lovely flavor. I made a lot as my son is visiting and he was delighted with the dish - I hope you will be too.

Pork with Marsala Wine Sauce

1 1/2 pounds thin sliced pork chops (or chicken breasts sliced or pounded thin)
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

For the Sauce

1 - 2 additional Tablespoons Butter, if necessary
2 shallots or 1 onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 pound of Button Mushrooms washed and sliced
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Mix flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme in a large bowl. Put in pork chops and turn chops to coat.

In a large frying pan, heat butter and olive oil until bubbling. Add in pork chops and cook until lightly browned on each side. If necessary, cook in two batches. Remove to a plate - you can keep them warm in a low temperature oven if desired..

Add additional butter if necessary to the pan and put in garlic and onions (or shallots). Cook until onion softens. Add mushrooms and cook until the juice is released and mushrooms are soft. Add in wine and cook until bubbling. Then add in chicken broth. Let simmer for a few minutes before adding in cornstarch. Cook, stirring until sauce thickens. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Put pork chops back in pan to get covered in sauce or put them on a large serving platter and pour sauce on top.

Five Element Analysis

Pork is a Water Element food. It is joined by Marsala Wine, which is a Fire Element beverage with a touch of Earth as it is so sweet. The Earth element is further enhanced by the use of mushrooms. The Wood Element is represented by the chicken broth and flour, whereas the Metal Element is represented by the onions, garlic and thyme. Guess what? All the elements are represented and this dish has an intrinsic Five Element balance. Anything else you add - like rice, noodles and vegetables - is a bonus!

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