Cream of Mushroom Braised Pork Chops

A minor detour from ‘soup week’ in which I try to make better use of the mediocre Cream of Mushroom Soup from last night.  I learned two things tonight:  last night’s soup is a fantastic braising liquid turned sauce; and pork chops are not improved by long braising so save yourself the time.  Still, I’m very pleased to be able to use a lot of the soup without having a forge ahead with eating it as soup.  And I think a shorter braising time would have resulted in a dinner that was fantastic instead of just good.

The fact that this isn’t just regular cream of mushroom soup makes a difference here.  The depth of flavor that the sherry and port add something special.  As it cooks down those flavors intensify.  That said, don’t go to the trouble of making your own cream of mushroom unless you’re making it to eat as soup and have it left over.  I think a good quality canned soup, thinned and doctored with sherry and/or port will do the trick just fine.  The one braising recipe I found for pork chops included a flour dredging.  Skip that part.  You don’t need it.  The soup will thicken just fine as it cooks down.  So, where I started with a soup recipe that took a long time; flour dredged pork chops that make a mess; and a one hour braising you’re down to a premade soup, enhanced (10 minutes); plain searing (3 minutes per side); and short braising (15 minutes).  Dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.

I had a few large mushroom caps left over so I decided to stuff them to serve with the pork chops.  Since they’re a side dish I didn’t want to do anything fancy.  Stuffing stuffed mushrooms fit the bill.  Just make up a little stuffing mix with sauteed celery and onions and put it in the cleaned mushroom caps. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Voila!  A side dish.

Good? Yep.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Nah, it’s more of a family dinner.
Special shopping? Nope.

Cream of Mushroom Braised Pork Chops

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
2 pork chops, 1-1 1/2 inches thick
3 C cream of mushroom soup

Directions

Heat the oil in a small dutch oven or cast iron skillet with a lid. Sear the pork chops 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Add the soup. Make sure it covers the pork chops. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove the pork chops and keep warm. Simmer the remaining soup uncovered until it reduces and thickens. Pour over the pork chops.

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