Mexican-spiced pork chops

Mexican-spiced pork chops

I served these earthy chops with quick pickled veggies for freshness and crunch and spicy roasted potatoes.

These pan fried pork chops are fast and simple yet earthy and rich. A great weeknight recipe to have in your back pocket. Pork chops are inexpensive and if you follow a few steps, very tender. But it’s easy to dry them out! Feel free to experiment with how you season your chops, however, follow these six tips for consistently delicious pork chops, every time:

  1. Always buy bone-in chops
  2. Buy 1/2″ to 2/3″ thick cuts, any thicker and you’ll have to pan-roast
  3. Sear on high for about 30 seconds then lower heat to medium
  4. Using tongs, pick up chops and sear up the fat on the sides
  5. Use a heavy bottomed pan such as cast iron or stainless steel
  6. Cook about 3 minutes per side

For 4 Mexican-spiced pork chops (pictured above), 

A night or two before cooking, rub chops with:

1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Refrigerate in ziplock or tupperware overnight
Bring to room temperature
Turn heat up to med-high on heavy bottomed pan.
Once hot, add canola oil

Add chops to pan, listen for a gratifying sizzle.
Resist the urge to move the chop for a minute or two.
Turn heat down to medium after about 30 seconds in pan.
Cook for 2 more minutes.
Flip chops, turn up heat for about 30 seconds, then down again.

Add:
2 sprigs of oregano
1 head of smashed garlic
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter to pan

Tilt pan and baste chop in butter, herbs and garlic with a spoon
Sear the sides of the chops using tongs.
Repeat process with remaining two chops.
Allow chops to rest about 10 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy with a fresh salad or quick pickled veggies and a starch of your choice!

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Salmon quinoa cakes

I made these salmon cakes after watching Damaris Phillips’ Food Network show, Southern at Heart. I thought the idea was genius. Filling, flavorful and fast. I adjusted the recipe to be more practical for a simple weeknight meal. Serve it with cooked quinoa and a simple acidic spinach salad. Acid really cuts the richness.

Salmon quiona cakes

These salmon quinoa cakes taste indulgent, yet they are packed with good fats and nutrients! It’s a win-win.

For 6 cakes:

1.5 lb skin on salmon fillet
1.25 cup cooked quinoa
3 scallions, sliced
1 chipotle pepper, stem removed
4 cloves of garlic
zest of 2 lemons
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp flour
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Preheat
Oven to 400° F

Line baking pan with foil
Place salmon on foil, skin side down
Bake for 10-12 minutes,
Allow to cool, remove skin
Flake fish into large mixing bowl

Meanwhile…
Measure 1 cup quinoa, soak for 5 minutes, rinse well in mesh strainer
Boil 2 cups of stock, or water with bouillon, or salted water in saucepan, reserve hot liquid in a bowl
Add rinsed quinoa to dry saucepan, toast quinoa over medium heat until dry and nutty smelling
Add broth or water back to quinoa, bring to a boil, then down to simmer
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low, allow 5 minutes to rest, covered after you turn heat off
Only use 1.25 of the quinoa for the cakes. Serve the rest with your meal or reserve for another time

Preheat oven to 350° F

Finely chop garlic and chipotle pepper (remove seeds if you don’t want heat)
Add scallions, garlic, chipotle, quinoa, salt, pepper, lemon zest, egg and flour and mix well
Form 6 patties, place on a rack on a baking sheet
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium, add 1 tbsp of coconut oil
Once hot, add the cakes to the pan in batches and brown about 2 minutes per side
Return cakes to the rack on the baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes

Serve with lemon wedges, an acidic salad and cooked grains.