Pork Scallopine with Wild Mushrooms and Cognac-cream Sauce

I love having dinner guests. It gives me an excuse to make something just that much more over the top and fancy. I was lucky enough to have a dinner guest that brought me a big bag of wild mushrooms as well!

– 2 boneless pork loin chops
– 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
– ½ stick butter, divided
– 2 lbs wild mushrooms, brushed clean, stemmed, sliced
– 6 cups baby spinach, sautéed to wilt, lightly salted
– 2 pieces crisp bacon, crumbled

Heat ¼ stick of butter in a large skillet over high heat. Cook the mushrooms, dividing into batches if necessary so as not to crowd them. The mushrooms should be in 1 layer only. This will allow them to get all nicely golden, instead of watery and mushy. Key here is not to stir very often – leave them alone! Let the mushrooms sear in the pan (check one by flipping it over, if it is getting a golden brown color, then you can stir the pan). Also, do not add salt until the end, salt draws water out of the mushrooms and will keep them from browning as well. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and put in a bowl in the oven to keep warm.

Cut each pork chop in half the long way and pound between plastic wrap very thin, about ¼ inch or so. Dredge chops in seasoned flour and set aside. Heat ¼ stick butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in the same large skillet (I’ll be honest, I used part bacon fat….). Brown the pork chops over high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side. Set on a cookie sheet in one layer, and keep warm in the oven. They will continue to cook a bit, so the idea is to slightly under cook them so they won’t be dry.

Sauce
– ¼ stick butter
– 1 small onion, minced
– 1 teaspoon brown sugar
– 1.5 cups chicken broth
– ½ cup cognac or brandy
– ½ cup heavy cream

Sautee the onion in the butter until soft and beginning to caramelize, 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add brown sugar and stir to incorporate. Add broth and cognac (be careful, I nearly lit my kitchen on fire when a little bit spilled onto the stovetop. I guess that’s why they say to take the pan off the heat before adding alcohol!). Boil until reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Take off heat, stir in cream, season with salt and pepper.

For plating: Arrange a bed of spinach on each plate and top with 1 pork chop. Pile some mushrooms half on/half off the chop and top the whole thing with some cognac cream sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon. Enjoy the looks of awe and worship.

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