Add the mushrooms to the casserole and baste them with the sauce. Bring again to the simmer on top of the stove. Then cover and return the casserole to the oven for 15 minutes more.
Remove the casserole from oven. Pour contents into a sieve placed over a saucepan. Remove the strip of orange peel and return the meat and vegetables to the casserole. Skim the fat off the sauce in the saucepan and boil the sauce down rapidly until it has reduced to about 2 1/2 cups. It should be lightly thickened and a rich reddish brown. If too thin, blend in the starch and water and simmer for 2 minutes. Correct seasoning, and pour the sauce back into the casserole over the veal.
May be done ahead to this point. Set aside, cover askew.
Shortly before serving, cover and bring to the simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Present the stew in its casserole, or on a platter surrounded by rice or noodles. Decorate with fresh herbs.
Per serving: 353 calories, 48 gm protein, 9 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 188 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 596 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber
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Those who grew up in Iowa knew pork chops as a household staple. Accordingly, we knew one way to cook them: perfectly. Seasoned with little more than salt and pepper and an occasional dusting of flour or cracker crumbs, chops were prepared flawlessly, whether grilled, seared, baked, braised or fried. You could count on the exterior to be crisp and crusty while the interior remained moist and tender.
Whether thick-cut beauties or paper-thin cutlets, chops were devoured tirelessly at breakfast, dinner and supper though rarely three times in one day (something I had always considered a pity).
Once my family moved, despite countless attempts to coax flavor from the lackluster chops acquired elsewhere, it just wasn't the same.
Then I encountered three pages -- from a woman trained in French techniques -- that changed my thinking. She was not privy to a Midwest upbringing or meat lockers (did they have decent pork chops in France?). But she knew how to get flavor from the pork without sacrificing tenderness.
Though these pork chops from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" are not at all what I had been accustomed to, they tasted wonderful. Without fuss. Without pretense. Just as it should be.
-- Renee Schettler
Cotes de Porc Poelees (Casserole-Sauteed Pork Chops)
Have the chops cut between 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick. The best chops are from the center loin or the rib loin. Second choices are the loin end or rump, shoulder loin chops, and blade and round-bone chops from the shoulder.
Usually 1 thick chop per person is sufficient.