A friend at work, Nelda and I were discussing how the Food Network has influenced our cooking style. I think it has improved my cooking and it has certainly made me more aware of how I can improve the flavor by using broth and fresh herbs and olive oil. When I learned to cook with my mom, we didn’t use those at all. She had 4 children to feed and the budget didn’t include all the extras. Salt and pepper and maybe a dried bay leaf were her flavor enhancers. She made good food though. As time went by she began to venture out to try more and different things. I cleaned out her kitchen when she moved, her spice cabinet was still pretty basic. There were more flavorings she added to cookies, cakes and pies than there were for savory dishes.
I was reading a food blog and there was a discussion about plain home cooked food and nothing would do but I was going to have a pork chop and rice dish. I always stop at that thought because of all the salt in canned food. I decided if I can make my own Suiza sauce for green chicken enchiladas, I can make my own cream of mushroom soup. It was pretty good and satisfied my need for a good casserole.
Creamy Mushroom Sauce for Casseroles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 ½ cups chopped baby Portabella (or button) mushrooms
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth or ½ cup broth/1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick skillet until butter has melted. Add the mushrooms and shallot and add some salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms and shallot are soft.
Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes. (Adjust the liquid you add depending on how thick you want your sauce.) Using a whisk add the broth and milk and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened.
At this point I use it as I would canned cream of mushroom soup (no need to dilute). I know and can pronounce all my ingredients.
Brown your pork chops (I like thin cut ones.) in a small amount of oil in a non-stick skillet. Let them brown on both sides with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Remove to a prepared oven-proof dish.
I used the same skillet for the sauce as I browned the pork chops in, and sautéed the mushrooms and shallot in the oil and just added a bit of oil and the butter to melt before adding the mushrooms and shallot.
Sprinkle about ½ cup white rice over the pork chops and add the sauce. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.
I served this with steamed cabbage and a small plate with radishes and onions from my garden.