Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cumin Crusted Pork Chops

This is not a recipe for the faint of heart or those whose palates aren't attuned to strong flavors. I thought long and hard before deciding to share this recipe with you. I finally reasoned that there were enough people who would enjoy the dish to warrant including it here. It is, however, a recipe that you'll either love or hate. I guarantee there won't be any fence sitters at your table. The dish is vaguely Hispanic and its dominant flavor is cumin, lots of cumin. To help balance the in-your-face flavor of these spice crusted chops, I serve them with creamy cheese grits and a lovely peach or mango salsa. The three elements work really well together and produce an altogether satisfactory meal. I'm not sure it would work as well with other sides, though cheese flavored mashed potatoes might work as an alternative to the grits. Pork is a big favorite at my table. Small families constantly deal with food packaged in quantities that can't be eaten in a single sitting. Pork and chicken help solve what could be an on-going war with leftovers. Years ago, pork received a culinary black-eye because it was cooked to death and had no moisture left in it when served. New cooking techniques, particularly brining, have helped solved the problem of dessicated meat. I always brine my pork and the recipe I use to do that can be found here. This is a really simple recipe that I first found in the New York Times. Save for brining the chops, I've made no changes to the original recipe. I have, however, made modest changes to the instructions for their preparation. The crust is what makes these chops interesting. To assure one forms without burning the coating, I use a blazing hot skillet. That's accomplished by putting the pan into the oven while it preheats and then transferring it to a burner to brown the chops. If you are looking for something arrestingly different and like strongly flavored food, you'll love these chops. Here's the recipe.

Cumin Crusted Pork Chops...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of the New York Times


4 (1-1/2-inch thick) brined boneless pork loin chops

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons crushed cumin seeds

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon canola oil


1) Place a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet in oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pat pork chops dry. Sprinkle both sides with salt, then brush each side with mustard. Press cumin and pepper into mustard coating.

2) Using oven mitts, remove skillet from oven and place over high heat. Add oil and heat until it smokes. Add pork chops and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer skillet back to oven and bake just until chops are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

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