“Veal Marsala” has long been one of my favorite foods–except, of course, that I’ve never had veal. Or Marsala, until recently. What am I talking about? Well, my brother-in-law has a wonderful recipe for veal Marsala, but he always substitutes pork for veal (let’s try to be humane, shall we?) and uses whatever strong wine happens to be on hand in place of the Marsala. It’s always a great meal. So when I had visitors for the weekend a while back, I suggested pork Marsala as a dinner option. It was enthusiastically accepted, but my guests seemed to have a bizarre expectation that it would include actual Marsala. Weird. Since I had to pick up a couple of ingredients anyway, I played along and got the Marsala. Results? Fabulous. The sweetness of the wine really added to the dish. I’ll always love it with random wine substitutions, but I strongly recommend at least trying it with the real stuff.
1-1/2 lbs pork loin
flour to coat (start with ~1/3 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
3 T olive oil
6 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 c Marsala
1/4 c white wine
3 T fresh parsley
1 T lemon juice
Cooked fettuccine to serve.
Cut the pork loin into bite-sized pieces. Mix the salt, pepper, and flour and gently dredge the pork in it. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and saute the pork in it until cooked. Remove to a warm bowl. Saute the mushrooms until beginning to brown, briefly add garlic and then the Marsala, white wine, and parsley. Return the pork to the pan and heat thoroughly; add lemon juice as your final touch. If too much liquid evaporates while the pork is warming, add more wine or some chicken broth to bring the level up. Serve with fettuccine or your pasta of choice.
Recipe comments: Obviously, you could substitute back in veal for the pork but that’s just mean, isn’t it? You could also make this as a sauce for pork chops if you don’t feel like cutting up loin. If you’re feeling really lazy, you can just cook the pork and mushrooms together and make this an uninterrupted one-dish meal. Just beware: if you crowd your pan, you will get no golden-browning and if you miscalculate your times, you will get burning.
I tend to be generous in my interpretation of the wine measurements. As long as you taste as you go and like where things are headed, feel free to add your own spin on it. And, as mentioned above, you can use whatever wine(s) you feel like with this recipe. The unique sweetness of Marsala, however, comes only from Marsala.