Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cuban-Inspired Pork Chops with Onions & Mushrooms

Pork chops with mushrooms & onions
These zesty pork chops are marinated in an authentic Cuban "mojo" (a citrus-garlic marinade) and cooked cooked in a traditional Cuban manner. Although mushrooms are not traditionally used Cuban cooking--hence my calling this recipe "Cuban-inspired" rather than Cuban--I think they complement and enhance the other flavors in this recipe, adding earthy depth and richness to an already robust and hearty dish.

If you don't care for mushrooms, you can either omit them and add a second onion, or you can substitute a sliced green bell pepper.

And if you cannot find bitter-orange juice (called "naranja agria" in Spanish) you can use a 50-50 combination of lemon or lime juice and orange juice.

My recipe serves two. If you have 4 or more mouths to feed, simply multiply the recipe accordingly. I served these pork chops with Southern style turnip greens and a baked sweet potato--not exactly traditional Cuban side dishes, but the flavors and textures complemented the pork chops nicely.

2 bone-in pork chops (about 10 to 12 oz each)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pan-frying pork chops
1 large onion, sliced into 1/4" rings
4 white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup bitter orange juice
2 Tbs olive oil or bacon fat (or 50-50 combo)
1/4 cup red wine

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and cumin into a paste. Rub this paste onto the pork chops, then lay the chops flat in a shallow non-metal container or a large resealable plastic bag. Top the chops with the sliced onion and mushrooms, pour the bitter orange juice over them, and cover (or seal the bag). Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to cook, heat the oil or fat over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (I use a cast iron skillet). Brown the pork chops on both sides, then add the marinade, onions, mushrooms and wine. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until the pork chops are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the chops and keep warm while you cook down the onions and mushrooms over high heat, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve the pork chops with the onion-mushroom mixture spooned on top.

Zestfully yours,

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