Rice and Pork

We normally have pork chops with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. This weekend I discovered a new way to prepare the dish using rice.

Although we say pork chops we are actually using medalions of pork loin. There is nothing magic about pork. You could just as easily substitute beef loin or chicken breasts without changing anything else. I bet it would even work with thicker fillets of fish.

The meat is first fried in a skillet. Set the burners to low, add a little canola oil, roasted and mashed garlic, let it come up to temperature, then add the meat. The meat should be cut into sections approximately half an inch thick. In the case of chicken breasts, use them as is.

While the meat is browning, open a can of Campbell’s condensed mushroom soup. Empty the can into a small sauce pan and add one can of water. Mix thoroughly. No need to heat we just want the condensed soup to be more of a sauce so that it will not burn when added to the meat in the skillet.

Check the meat and brown on both sides. Remove the meat from the skillet and add the mushroom soup to the skillet. Stir to reclaim all the browning drippings from the meat. Combine them with the mushroom soup to form a light brown gravy.

Notice we have not added any seasoning. There is plenty of salt in the mushroom soup. No need to add anything.

Cut the meat into half inch wide strips. Then cut the strips into half inch square chunks. Add the meat back into the sauce in the skillet and let it simmer for an hour or two on low heat. Stir every so often to make sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the skillet and burn.

The rice can be prepared normally with water. We use plain rice and avoid the instant stuff. Use about two to three cups of water per cup of rice. You can also use chicken broth in place of water. We make our own chicken broth and store it in the refrigerator in salvaged Prego jars. The chicken broth already contains seasonings. Salt, pepper, sage, and rosemary are added to the chicken carcass as it is boiled to make the broth. One chicken makes three to four jars of broth. One jar of broth is enough to cook one cup of dry rice.

Bring the water or broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in the cup of dry rice and stir. Keep the burner on high for a few minutes and let the rice and liquid boil. As the rice cooks it will swell and absorb the liquid. When it appears that is what is happening, turn the burner to low and put a lid on the pan. Let it sit and steam. Check on it periodically to make sure it is not burning. The idea is for the rice to absorb all the liquid so that at the end we have very little liquid in the pan. If there is too much liquid, turn up the heat and boil it off but be careful not to scorch the rice. Scorched rice has a very bad taste even if it has been carefully seasoned.

Serve the meal in a medium sized bowl. Three to four large spoonfuls of rice followed by three large spoonfuls of meat and gravy.

It should be obvious that this is a very versatile dish. In place of the rice, you could use mashed potatoes, or noodles. In place of the meat you could use fish or shrimp. I have not tried this using canned tuna or salmon but I bet it would work that way too.

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