Thursday, October 20, 2005

~October Cooking With Washington Wines~

Treat your pork chops nice. Love them up a little with some Sauvignon Blanc.

I will admit - I do not drink a lot of white wines. Once in awhile a Chardonnay and only if it's not over oaked and made more of the white Burgundian style. I adore Viognier, but prefer to save it for special occasions. Viognier is truly the nectar of the Gods. Semillon and I do not get along, no matter how I try. I wonder if it's the fact that Semillon is normally low in acid? No way am I a fan of late harvest Semillons, either. However, I might drink a Semillon if it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc and paired with a meal. L'Ecole No. 41 has a Barrel Fermented Semillon that is blended with Sauvignon Blanc. That bit of Sauvignon Blanc adds a crisp touch and really brightens the Semillon.

How do I feel about Sauvignon Blanc? I l-o-v-e it! I enjoy that very grassy, lemony and aggressive wine. How do I feel about Fume' Blanc? Pfffffttttt! Do not over oak the Sauvignon Blanc Mr. Mondavi!

So far in Walla Walla wine country there are a few Sauvignon Blancs. Woodward Canyon has an excellent Sauvignon Blanc (but what isn't excellent that has the Woodward Canyon label?), Waterbrook 's Sauvignon Blanc with a skoosh of Viognier blended in and an excellent value. Three Rivers Winery has a elegant white Meritage (63% Sauvignon Blanc).

Don't settle for your basic "shake and bake" pork chop. Let your pork chops feel the love and definitely try this recipe.

1 red bell pepper
6-8 large flat mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsps olive oil
4 pork chops
1/2 cup plain flour
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2- 3/4 cup of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Grill or bake the red bell pepper until the skin blackens. Place in a paper bag and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the stem, seeds and interior ribs and cut into strips. Keep warm. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and wipe the caps clean. Slice. Finely chop the garlic. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and add the mushrooms. Stir, then add the garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms soften and exude moisture. Stir in salt and pepper, then put on a plate and keep warm. Don't wash the pan unless food is burned on. Save all of the little drippings and brown bits. That equals flavor!

Remove excess fat from chops. Season the flour with salt and pepper and press the chops into it to coat. Heat a little more oil in the pan and lightly brown the chops on both sides. Add the chopped herbs, stir for a minute or so, then drizzle in the wine. Part-cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, adding more wine if necessary (Of course! Adding more wine is always necessary!). Don't overcook; the meat is ready as soon as it releases clear juices. Remove the chops to warm plates and keep warm. Put mushrooms back in the pan and stir, check seasoning, then carefully fold in roasted red bell pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chops and top with lightly chopped Italian parsley. Serves four. Serve with the same Sauvignon Blanc.

Now, aren't you glad you were nice to your pork?

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