Pork is popular in Bulgaria. In fact, Bulgaria produces some of the highest quality pork and pork products in the world. Sliven is a very old Bulgarian community. Pork chops in the style of Sliven is a nice comfortable plate of food!
The pork chop and vegetables are sauteed and then slowly baked in a covered baking dish or pan. A minimum of seasoning is used for this recipe. Sliven cuisine has old Roman and Slavic influences. Greek spices are not usually used for recipes in Sliven region of Bulgaria. The key rich flavors of this pork chop recipe come from the aromatic mirepoix vegetables, tomato and mushrooms. When the pork chop is done baking, the vegetables become the thick sauce that cling to the pork chop.
These old Roman and eastern european cooking techniques are what the French later named Le Poeler and Le Braiser. Many Bulgarian cooks that I have worked with are modest and they know that where a cooking technique was created or who created a cooking technique is really a matter of no importance. The only thing that really matters, is that a traditional entree must be cooked correctly.
The attitude of placing no importance on the details of who is credited for creating a cuisson is not bad. It does break down walls of pride, overzealous cuisine patriotism, claims of false originality and biased statements of one cuisine being better than another. It also keeps arguments to a minimum in a professional kitchen.
Eastern europeans can argue and debate over topic matter for days and weeks! Two Bulgarians argued back and forth over one little item for over three weeks at a kitchen that I worked in. A couple times a week, the chef would walk by and say "Are you two guys still arguing about that?" The chef then just shook his head and walked away. I asked what was going on and the chef said "Its a Bulgarian thing!" Finally after three weeks, the chef walked by the Bulgarians and said "I see that you two are no longer arguing!" The Bulgarians both turned to the chef and said "We came to a mutual agreement" and they just coldly stared at the chef, till the chef walked away! I did not even bother to say a word. I just shook my head and went back to work!
Bulgarian Pork Chop a la Sliven:
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
Season a large 8 to 12 ounce Pork Chop with sea salt and black pepper.
Place the pork chop in the hot pan.
Pan sear the pork chop on both sides, till it gets some brown highlights.
Add 1/3 cup of diced carrot.
Add 1/3 cup of diced celery.
Add 1/3 cup of diced onion.
Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
Saute the mirepoix vegetables, till they start to become tender.
Add 2 chopped small portabella mushrooms.
Add 1 fluted or carved small portabella mushroom. (This mushroom will be used as the garnish!)
Saute till the mushrooms become tender.
Add 1 diced ripe plum tomato.
Saute till the tomato becomes tender.
Add 1 pinch chopped parsley.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
Add enough water to almost cover the pork chop.
Cover the saute pan with a loose fitting lid.
Place the covered pan in a 325º oven.
Bake the pork chop for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Note: Allow the liquid to reduce to a thick sauce that can cling to the pork chop. Only add water if the sauce starts to become dry, before the pork chop becomes tender.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Set the pork chop on a plate.
Spoon the thick sauce over the pork chop.
Place the cooked fluted mushroom on top of the pork chop as a garnish.
Serve with buttered boiled potato slices that are seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and chopped Italian parsley.
Garnish the plate with an Italian parsley sprig.
The flavors of Pork Chop a la Sliven are gentle yet hearty. The pork chop is tender and juicy after baking with the vegetables and acidic wine.
Use a good dry white wine for this recipe. I used a French white burgundy chardonnay. A table wine that you would be happy to drink, is the best choice for a cooking wine.
This Pork Chop a la Sliven recipe is a must try! Yum! ... Shawna