Certain foods taste great together, like succulent veal chops, earthy mushrooms, and nutty Chinese black rice--also known as "forbidden rice" because only the emperor was allowed to eat it. Need I say more?
Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Chinese Black Rice
Ingredients For the veal chops 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 veal chops 4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves 1/2 pound assorted wild mushrooms, sliced 1/2 cup sweet sherry 1/2 cup strong chicken or veal stock 2-3 teaspoons tamari, or to taste Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the black rice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup onion, diced 1 bay leaf 1 chile de arbol 2 sprigs thyme 2 cups black rice 1/2 cup white wine 3 1/2 cups water Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Season the chops with a teaspoon of salt and refrigerate, preferably a few hours before cooking. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat for two minutes, then swirl in the olive oil. Pat the chops dry, then put them in the pan and sear on both sides until nicely browned, about five minutes. Add the shallots and thyme to the skillet, saute briefly, then place the shallots on top of the chops. Put the pan in the oven for approximately eight to ten minutes. Cook until just pink near the bone (145 degrees on an instant read thermometer.) Remove the chops from the oven and place them on a warm platter. Put the skillet back on the stove (placing an oven mitt over the handle to remind yourself that the pan is very hot), add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until softened. (If the pan seems dry, add an additional tablespoon or two of butter or oil.) Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits up from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour in the stock and the tamari and cook the mushroom mixture down under medium heat for two minutes. Place the chops back in the pan to warm. Taste for seasoning. Serve the veal over the rice, pouring the mushrooms and sauce on top.
To make the rice, heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and chile. Cook until the onions just begin to color. Add the rice, stirring to coat, and toast for several minutes. Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the water and salt to the pan, let it come to a boil, then cover and simmer for approximately 35 minutes until the rice is just tender. If there is any liquid left in the pan, drain it and let the rice sit covered for an additional five minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Note: I use Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry in this recipe. Chinese black rice is available in specialty food stores or online. I sometimes add sauted fresh corn to the rice for additional color and crunch.