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?