I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in West Richland, Washington.
Greetings from West Richland, Washington
N 46° 15.4898’ W 119° 20.5197’ Elev. 600 ft.
Shore leave is ending here in sunny south-central Washington and, as I’ve done before, before setting sail I’ve made food I’m not going to find out on the cement seas.
For this voyage I’ve made Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce over rice. Not only does it help me inch toward my dream-goal of an all-pork diet, it also re-heats really well.
I got some really great looking pork chops from a truly great grocery store, WinCo Foods, a Boise, Idaho-based (employee-owned!) supermarket chain with locations throughout the western states.
After rinsing the pork chops thoroughly — this is an important step as the chops are cut with a bandsaw and there are often little residual chips of bone on them — season them with salt and pepper. I like to use a lot of pepper because, well, I really like fresh ground pepper.
Next, brown the pork chops. You don’t have to cook them all the way through as they will get thoroughly cooked at a later stage.
After browning the chops put them in a baking dish and smother them with a handful (8) of fresh sliced mushrooms and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup, diluted with milk as it makes it creamier.
After the concoction is amassed and assembled cover it with foil and bake it at an absurdly low temperature (180-200°) for a few hours. Cooking it for so long at such a low temperature will render the pork chops extraordinarily tender.
Once the mass for mess is in the oven, go do something else. There is no need to watch it as it would take a short forever for it to burn.
(Indeed, we grabbed Chinese food to-go from Mandarin House — where the lady overcharged me about $5 … but the food was quite good — and took it to Howard Amon Park on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. Although this particular superhighway is a bit more fluid than I’m used to, I figure if it’s moving at about 190,000 cubic feet per second, that’s good traffic flow.)
After the chops are cooked, debone them and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Then put the whole mess back in the baking dish and stir it up until all the pieces are coated with all that mushroomy goodness. After it’s mixed, put it back in the oven uncovered until the sauce reaches whatever thickness you want; the longer it’s in, the thicker it’ll get.
Once the sauce reaches your desired consistency, stir it again and then pour it over rice; I make the rice with chicken stock.
This stuff is a real treat when you’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s either nothing open or there’s only various levels of pure odiousness to choose from. Trust me.
And so we roll.
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.