Bijol from my pan-pal, Nathan. Please check out his wonderful blog, La Cocina de Nathan, for some wonderful Cuban and Mexican food.
Of course, I rarely make anything without fooling with the recipe. Here's the original recipe. You can do it in the oven or stovetop, and since I had a hankering for Cuban-Style Yellow Rice, I opted to do stovetop and cook the rice separately. We love intense flavors at our house, so I also decided to add a spice rub to my porkchops for a hot, smoky flavor note.
2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 loin pork chops
For spice rub:
freshly ground black pepper
chipotle chile powder
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. cumin
1 1/2 t. ancho chile powder
1 1/2 t. chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 c. shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend
1. Wash the porkchops and pat dry with paper towels. Season on both sides. with salt and pepper, then rub on both sides with some cumin, chipotle chile powder, and the 4 cloves crushed garlic.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and brown on both sides, 5 minutes per side, over medium heat. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion to the skillet and saute in the pork drippings about 5 minutes, until translucent and tender, Add the green peppers and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute 2 minutes. Season with the black pepper, ancho chile powder, chili powder, and cumin.
After adding the spices to the pan:
4. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 can water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
5. Add the porkchops back to the pan. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
6. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese. Simmer, covered, 5 to
10 more minutes or until the cheese melts.
I served this with Nathan's Arroz Amarillo.
Here's the recipe:
Nathan's Arroz Amarillo (Stove-top version)
Makes about 3 c. of rice
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 lg. cloves garlic, crushed
1 c. long grain white rice1 1/2 c. water
1 t. Bijol or saffron threads
1/2 box frozen baby peas (I left them out this time, but they are really good!)
Salt to taste
1. Make the sofrito: Heat the oil in a 4 qt. saucepan over medium heat and saute the onion with salt until translucent. Added the bell pepper, more salt, and sautee until softened, about 5 min. Add the garlic and cooked it for about a minute, until fragrant. Don't leave the garlic unattended-- it will burn if you don't stir it. Nathan says if you burn the garlic, you have to start over.
2. While the sofrito is cooking, wash the rice well, in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. This is very important to avoid having gummy rice. It gets rid of all the excess starch. Also, if you are using saffron, heat the 1 1/2 c. water in the microwave for 1 min. Add a generous pinch of saffron threads and let steep. Add this saffron infusion to the pan instead of plain water in step 3.
3. Add the water to the pan along with the cumin, bijol, salt to taste, and the rice. Stir to mix well. Bring the rice to a boil, cover the pan, and turn the heat down very low. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
4. Remove the rice from the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes, without lifting the lid. After 5 minutes, test to see if it is done. (Rick Bayless says that at this point if the rice is still a little hard, cover the pan and put it back over low heat for 5 minutes. If the rice is completely dry and still hard, add 2 T water to the pan and then return to low heat for 5 min.)
5. Add the frozen peas and stirr gently just until they are thawed.
To go with the porkchops, I made an old family favorite, Brushed Eggplant. It's a recipe I found in a Sara Moulton cookbook. It is very simple.
Slice eggplant into 1/4" thick slices.
Then brush both sides with vinaigrette dressing. I usually have some homemade dressing on hand, but today I used some bottled raspberry vinaigrette.
Place the slices on a baking tray.
Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until tender. You can turn the oven off and let them sit for 10 minutes or so if you'd like them a little crisp.
These porkchops were wonderful! DC said they were the juiciest porkchops he's had in a long time! I highly recommend Gloria's recipe.