Monday, March 1, 2010

Fiesta Pork Chops

I'm thinking "outside of the box" on this one.

I know, that phrase is so synergisticly,, mid-90's but in this case it's literally appropriate. First, I first made this recipe in the mid-90's. Secondly, the recipe came off of a box.

Yes, the original recipe was one I read on a box of Rice A Roni, the San Francisco treat when I was first learning to cook for my new found family of four. We loved it back then but haven't had it in over a decade, because my tastes and skill have evolved.

Tonight I had some boneless pork chops and thought to myself, "Who says I can't make the recipe evolve too?"

Fiesta Pork Chops
Hallucinogenically adapted from Rice A Roni. Or maybe it was Kraft macaroni and cheese. Maybe it was Ramen Noodles. Oh hell, it doesn't matter at this point. I'm blogging about a recipe I made from a box 15+ years ago.

4 ea boneless pork chops, 1" thick

Southwestern Pork Rub
1 Tbsp chili powder

3/4 tsp cumin, toasted

3/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp oregano, dried

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp red pepper, ground
1/4 tsp granulated garlic

1 1/2 cups long grain rice
1 ea onion, medium, finely diced

1 ea jalapeno, seeded, finely diced

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup frozen sweet peas
(feel free to sub corn or 1/2 cup of each)

Mix the rub ingredients and apply the rub to the thick chops.

Preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven at 400f, remove to medium high heat on the stove top and then add a few tablespoons of oil. Brown pork chops on both sides.

TIP: I seared mine on a preheated cast iron griddle to get some nice grid marks before browning, but you can just brown them in a skillet.
Remove chops to a plate, keeping oil in skillet.

Add the rice, onion, and pepper to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in chicken stock, tomato sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, and peas and bring to a boil.

Return chops to the pan, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. About 1/2 way through cooking, stir rice around a bit.

Fluff rice with a fork, put lid back on, kill the heat and let rest for 10 minutes uncovered.

While you only need to brown the chops in the skillet, I wanted grid marks so I used a HOT griddle first. 1 minute, turn 90 degrees another minute. Flip, 1 minute, turn 90 degrees, another minute.

Then I finished off browning them in the skillet.

You KNOW you have thick chops when
1) you have to brown the edges of the chops and....
2) the chops can stand on their sides on their own.

Does this look like a fun hot tub or what?

We served them up by simply putting the skillet mid-table and surrounded it with slices of southwestern cheese bread.

Oh yeah, this was good, very good. It disappeared quickly.

Do you recall a recipe that came off of a box many, many years ago? If so, have you tried re-imagining, re-inventing it with your cooking skills these days?


  1. I have to say I have not been in the mood for pork as of late, but this is swinging my chops (oh the fun with puns) in the right direction!

    I had a friend who swore by Rice A Roni, and I just could not stand it!

  2. A hot tub of fun! These sound and look delicious.

  3. Looks outstanding - nice job with evolving the recipe

  4. I have never seen pork chops that thick! Many a good recipe have come off boxes or product labels. I have many in my recipe database, but none immediately come to mind. This recipe sounds wonderful, Chris.

  5. Those are some hefty-sized boneless chops! I love your approach to recreate this meal and make it even better. I have to laugh though, because my husband's favorite meal is super thick pork chops with beef rice-a-roni. He won't let me sub it out or try to make my own. He has to have the box. I'm bookmarking this recipe so that I can sneak it in on him. Maybe it'll be a new favorite.

  6. YUM! I am not a pork chop person, but this looks SO good. I love all the flavors that you put in this dish. I may be forced to try this one soon.

  7. Wow!I am huge pork fan! your chops look fantastic, Chris ;-)I am drooling here.

  8. I love getting recipes off of boxes!

  9. "Hallucinogenically adapted from Rice A Roni"...
    I'm betting that phrase has never been used before in the history of blogs.

  10. these look so fun.

  11. You know how I have been doing retro helps your memory to remember good times!

  12. Those are some serious looking chops and I like the "Fiesta" flair you came up with. These i am bookmarking and will definitely get the big, thick chops.

  13. Now this is a meal to gladden a winter weary soul. I love that it is easy as well as colorful. I really like what you are doing here. I stopped by to say hello and stayed much longer than I planned. I'll be back often to see what you are conjuring up. Have a great day, Chris.

  14. woah! your pictures are so mouth watering me! thanks for dropping by my page! hehe. I'm going to add you on my blogroll =) and I'll be coming here a lot toooo! hehee. nice meeting you!

  15. This did not come from a box. It is cute that you are trying to pretend. It comes from your creative conscience, that got some clue about it off a box 15 some years ago. I should know. I was an infant then and I paid attention to such things. GREG

  16. Nice. Those thick cut pork chops look amazing. A hot tub of fun indeed.

  17. so tell me why i had to sing the tune in my head as I read "san fransisco treat". (I happen to LOVE rice-a-roni but my kids don't). and ya...I'd join those chops in the hot tub...haha. But seriously, these look and sound wonderful

  18. Looks delicious! Love the sideways shot, those are some nice thick chops!

    Recipes off the boxes had to come from a real recipe at some point, it's just cheaper, better and usually just as easy to recreate them. I still use the recipe off the box of Ronzoni shells for my stuffed shells, and I'm Italian! The secrets are in using homemade sauce, fresh grated cheeses and fresh herbs :-)

    Oh and speaking of packaged goods, sorry to disappoint but my jerk marinade last night was from a bottle - but I promise, it's a really good one (running away hiding in shame ;-)

  19. Really... I love my husband and all...but could I just borrow you every once in a while?? I mean really, those look amazing!

  20. Fiesta, Fiesta! I can eat all the "batch" of this marvelous-golden pork! Cooking is creativity - always :)
    Have a great week,

  21. Those are some yummy looking chunks of pork! I make my own rice-a-roni with rice and little bits of broken vermicelli. So good.

  22. In the 90's, had your Rice-A-Roni recipe already evolved, it would have been called Rice-A-Roni on I believe the correct term would be Rice-A-Roni on Rhoids...whatever you call it, I'm sure it was great because they don't call it a S.F. TREAT for nothing! I've already printed this one and will make it soon..I know my fam will love it, they were raised on box foods!

  23. Chris - Just saw your comment about Scary Mary! That is one funny video. I'm going to have to show it to my mom, she'll die laughing:D Thanks!

  24. The original beef flavored hamburger helper. I always loved it. I make a good facsimile thereof using soy sauce, beef broth and

  25. I was laughing at how this hallucagenically evolved. Looks wonderful.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.