Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Grilled Pork Chops with Creamy Guinness Mushrooms

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Carolina Sauce Company!

My inspiration for this low-carb, hearty and full-flavored pork chop recipe was traditional Irish fare. With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon and some lovely pork chops from MAE Farms, I was in search of an authentic Irish recipe but every one I found called for flour, breading, potatoes or other carbohydrates that are currently "taboo" in our house.

So, after much research, I decided I would create my own recipe using ideas and ingredients from traditional Irish cuisine.

This is not a low-fat recipe. But if you use organic and/or all-natural, high-quality ingredients, it is wholesome and deeply satisfying in a "primal" sort of way. And if you are restricting or watching your carb intake, you'll be glad to know that this recipe doesn't call for any flour, cornstarch, breading, thickeners or the like -- and Guinness beer is actually relatively low in carbohydrates for a beer (and the entire recipe only calls for half a cup, much of which evaporates during cooking).

If you prefer, you can grill the pork chops indoors on a George Foreman grill (that's what I used). You could also pan-fry them in a cast-iron skillet prior to cooking the mushrooms, and hold the cooked chops in a warm oven until the mushrooms are done and you're ready to serve.

2 bone-in pork chops (approx. 1 lb total)
Sea salt & cracked black pepper for seasoning chops
2 Tbs butter OR 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs bacon fat
10 oz mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed & sliced (I used cremini)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Guinness beer
1/3 cup half & half
1 tsp dried thyme OR 1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until tender and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt, pepper & beer, cook at a simmer, stirring regularly, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. While the mushrooms are simmering, preheat your grill and season the pork chops to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper. When the mushrooms are almost "dry," place the chops and grill until done, turning once (if using a Foreman grill, you don't need to turn the chops and the cooking time is only 5 to 7 minutes depending on the chops' thickness). While the chops are cooking, stir the half & half and thyme into the mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until reduced to a thick creamy sauce that coats the mushrooms. This takes about 5 to 7 minutes, and ideally the pork chops will be done around the same time -- if the chops need longer to cook, you can reduce the heat on the mushrooms to low/warm until the chops are done (and you can stir in a little more half & half if the sauce gets too thick). If the chops are done early, you can hold them until the creamy mushrooms are done.

To serve, spoon half of the creamy mushrooms over each plated pork chop. A green salad, roasted vegetables or sauteed spinach are all excellent low-carb side dishes. The photo shows roasted leeks and carrots over sauteed spinach as the side dish.

Serves 2.

Zestfully yours,

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