I don't think I've ever shared a recipe on my blog before, but this was too good to keep to myself.
We bought a little container of dried chanterelle mushrooms a month or so ago, at "Your Dekalb Farmers Market" in Atlanta (awesome place, for a big store), but for all that time were both too timid to call them into service. My wife, Jessica, attended Tradd Cotter's (Mushroom Mountain, Liberty, SC, USA) mushroom talk at the Georgia Organics conference last week (since I couldn't - I was talking about permaculture at the same damn time - so Jessica went for me;) and she said that he said chanterelles were hard to reconstitute. What he said to do with them instead was what we decided to try out tonight:
Chop those dried chanterelles up in the food processor, says he, so we did, to a mix of powder and increasingly larger pieces, up to about 1/4 inch. Do the same with a couple of slices of dried out sourdough bread (that's the kind of bread we used anyway). Pinch salt, cracked pepper, white pepper, powdered sage, big 3-finger pinches of each, and about twice that much fresh thyme, de-stemmed.
Mix all of these together in a bowl, sifting the mixture between your fingers. Coat a big thick pork chop (rib chop, loin chop, whatever you like) in olive oil, and then lay it in the mix and plaster the coarse mix all over the chop. Coat both sides thickly and evenly, then lay in hot bacon squeezins and cook both sides to your favorite temp. I like my chops medium; others around here, not so trusting. But even overdone (at medium well;) this makes a sinister luxury chop. Special occasion kind of thing. Jessica described it as "lobster tail, wrapped in really good bacon, lightly browned, and dipped in butter." And that was a fairly lean piece of pork, really. You know, for us.
Damn, Tradd Cotter was right! For a very naughty meal, chop those dried chanterelles up and use them as 1/3 or so, maybe half, of a meat coating. If you're lucky enough to have some chanterelles. I know I feel lucky tonight. And the recipe would probably work well for other species of mushrooms, too, I would think.
Think $51/lb is a lot to pay for dried mushrooms? Not when $2.80-worth changes your expectation of pork permanently. Ninety-nine percent chance that they're really good for you as well. That, and I think that paying producers a living wage for a good product is a worthy thing to invest in. Call me an "ounce of prevention" guy. Besides, it takes a lot of dried mushrooms to make a pound, even if it just takes a little to transform a pork chop. Vote with your fork! But we're ruined now, Jess and I, ruined I tell you!, for our old standard, non-buttery-lobster-tasting pork chops. They're dead to us...