Marsala dishes, like Picatta dishes, are interchangeable – that is chicken, veal or pork will work in either. My favorite Piccata is veal, for no other reason than veal was my introduction to Piccata, with chicken as a close second since that was the first Piccata I ever cooked. Although I must confess, the Pork Piccata is also delicious as part of my fabulous Six Course Italian Supper. Then again, the buttery-lemony sauce with a kiss of wine that gives Piccata its unmistakable signature goodness works well with fish such as Dover Sole. Oh let’s face it, I like Piccata.
Truth be told, I like most anything American-Italian. And yes, there is a difference between true Italian dishes served in Italy and those adapted to the American tastes. Spaghetti swimming in a ton of tomato puree (American-style) compared to a delicate pasta kissed with a little oil and herbs (Italian) is the first thing that springs to mind.
At the heart of any Marsala dish is the Marsala Wine. Marsala is more than just a fortified wine, it’s also a city in Sicily. It’s interesting to noted that while Marsala wine is frequently used in cooking, this is especially prevalent in Italian-American restaurants. As a Catholic, I’ve often found the sweet fruitiness of Marsala similar to Communion Wines. Hum, does that mean these Pork Chops are blessed? Just kidding, folks – no need to answer.
Just as Piccata goes well with chicken or pork, Marsala is delicious when cooking up “the other white meat”. However; in my opinion Marsala would not work well with fish or seafood, having too sweet a flavor. Maybe veal, but that’s as far as I would dare to venture. I could be wrong. Maybe it’s just a personal thing anyway.
Mushroom Pork Chops Marsala
4 thin-cut Pork Loin Chops, bone okay
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
3 teaspoons Olive Oil, divided
8 oz Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1 large Shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/3 cup Marsala Wine
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
Italian Parsley, chopped for garnish
Evenly season pork chops, on both sides, with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a large, heavy bottom non-stick skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add chops and cook 6 minutes per side or until browned on the outside and still slightly pink in the center, turning over once. Transfer chops to a platter; keep warm in the oven.
While the chops are browning, rinse and slice mushrooms, set aside. Peel and thinly slice shallot. Break into small rings and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat remaining oil for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, shallot and season with thyme; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and shallot is softened.
Add broth and wine to mushroom mixture; cook 2 minutes. Mix cornstarch with 1 teaspoon chicken stock and add it slowly to the mushroom sauce while stirring. Let simmer a minute or two longer for the sauce to begin to thicken. Push mushrooms to one side. Return pork chops to the skillet along with any drippings that may have gathered in the platter. Spoon some of the mushroom mixture over the chops. Cover and simmer a few minutes longer for the chops to soak in some of the wine. If the sauce becomes too thick or more is desired, add a little more chicken stock slowly until the desired consistency is reached.
Transfer to a platter, spoon mushrooms over the top. Chop a little parsley, garnish as desired and enjoy.
Also delicious with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. With these pork chops, it’s anything goes!