Wednesday, August 5, 2009
DF4: Cuban Porkchops
I am continuing to get better. I have more energy (YAY!) and was even able to work 9.5 hours today! I talked to someone today whose mom has had Bell's Palsy for TWO YEARS! She is definitely on my prayer list. Oh, I can't imagine.....
Wondering what on earth to fix for dinner, as I am running low on lots of stuff and haven't had time to get to the store, I remembered I had 3 succulent pork chops in the freezer. Gloria's Mexican Porkchops!! was my first thought. My second was: Cheese. Bummer.
Then I realized it has been quite a while since I fixed my dear friend Nathan's Smothered Cuban Porkchops! Oh, happy day! Well, Nathan doesn't call them smothered, but here in the South when you serve something covered with a pile of richly browned, caramelized onions, we say it's smothered. Which is really just another way to say, Yum-O!
I served them with Cuban-style yellow rice and a medley of Silver Queen corn and lima beans from the freezer. We luuuuuvv lima beans at my house-- at least, the baby ones you can get frozen. I don't do canned limas. (Yucky!) The baby ones are tender, mealy, and sweet, a nice texture contrast to the corn. And of course, butter. Seasoned salt too if you have it (we are out). I have tried for years, I really have, but I just can't stand the taste or texture of margarine. I feel like I'm eating a hunk of Crisco. I think margarine is supposed to be almost as bad for you as butter is, so pick your poison, I guess!
I am sure I have shared this recipe before, but it's so good I'm gonna share it again. Here is the one, the only, the fantastic
4 pork chops
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t. salt
juice of 2 fresh limes
1 t. ground cumin
Extra-virgin olive oil for panfrying
2 large onions, halved and sliced into thin rings (half-rings, I guess!)
juice of 1 more fresh lime
1. Wash the porkchops and pat dry with paper towels. They need to be nice and dry for the spice paste we're going to make to stick to them.
2. Put the crushed garlic in a small bowl and add 1 t. salt, then mash them together thoroughly to create a paste. If you have a mortar and pestle, that's ideal, but a bowl and the back of a spoon works too. Add the cumin.
Add enough lime juice to make a thick slurry-- you may not need all the lime juice, depending on how big or how juicy your limes are.
3. When everything is all mixed up, start slathering your porkchops with the spice mixture on both sides, and rub it in well. Give those babies a good massage!
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. It needs to get good and hot to panfry the chops. You can test it by sticking a wooden spoon in the hot oil. Hold it there for a few seconds. If little, tiny, sizzly bubbles start to appear around the edges of the spoon, the oil is hot enough.
5. Add the slathered pork chops to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes per side. The garlic paste may burn a little, but Nathan says that's ok.
When the chops are done, remove them from the pan and set aside on a plate.
6. If there is more than a tablespoon or two of oil/drippings in the pan, pour out the excess. Add the sliced onions and a generous amount of salt, and saute until the onions are starting to get soft. Deglaze the pan with the remaining lime juice, scraping up all the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and keep cooking until the onions are nice and tender and just starting to brown on the edges.
Mine are always brown all over from the deglazing, so maybe I should say until the edges are brown-er!
7. Time to eat!! You can serve the porkchops on a bed of onions, or smothered under a pile of onions, or next to a heap of onions, ever-how you like it (as my Mom would say).
Everything came out great, and we really enjoyed it! Sadly, the rice is only "Cuban-style" because I had no bell peppers for the sofrito. Yep, that's pepper-less rice. We found it will do in a pinch :) !
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