The Farmstead Kitchen- Cuban Pastured Pork Chops
I met my Dad for lunch at Victor’s 1959 Cuban Cafe in Minneapolis. My Dad is a big meat eater and expressed his worry I’d invited him to a vegetarian restaurant. I said no- Cuban cuisine tends to feature a fair bit of pork. While I don’t eat meat unless I know exactly where it came from, I studied the pork menu descriptions for ideas I could use later at home with our own pork. Lime, garlic, onions….At Victor’s I ordered a vegan platter of the most delicious yucca fritas, cuban black beans and rice, fried sweet plantains all drizzled with delicious mojo sauce. My Dad went vegetarian (what?!?) with his choice, and we also split a giant tropical salad. I think this may have been his first time eating both mangoes and avocados at 77 years old!
My recipe is custom combination of Guy Fieri’s Cuban Pork Chops w/ Mojo Recipe, and this awesome Closet Cooking recipe. I don’t claim it is authentic in anyway, other than delicious! We rarely do fancy things with our pork, as it is so dang good without any help, but it’s fun to try new methods, and these Chops with an uber juicy, citrusey sparkle were just so phenomenal I had to share.
2 (or up to 4) gorgeous pastured pork chops, defrosted
Mix all these ingredients together:
3 limes, juiced, plus OJ to make up 1 full cup of juice
4 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 onion finely diced
1/2 cup apple vinegar
1 tsp each salt, cumin and oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pour this marinade over the pork chops, which you have laid out in a flat pan, let sit for 1-3 hours at room temperature. Occasionally turn the chops to ensure they get the full marinade bath on all surfaces.
While your chops marinate, make these luscious Cuban-style Black Beans.
Combine in a pot, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and stir occasionally, they just need time to combine and thicken together, I’d say give it about an hour. You could also put this in a slow cooker in the morning and it’d be ready for dinner time.
1/2 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups broth (or maybe more, depending on how long you simmer)
1/2 cup salsa or pureed tomatoes
4 cups cooked black beans
Rind from 1/2 a lime (remove before serving)
Salt and pepper to taste
optional- prepare a garnish of fresh cilantro and a simple salsa fresca
When you’re ready for dinner, make a pot of fluffy white rice and while it’s going, cook the Chops.
Heat up a big cast iron skillet on medium high. Lift the chops out of the marinade and let them drain on a paper towel. Now -scoop out all the onion and garlic bits out of the marinade, and reserve both elements. When your pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil (we use lard) and then set your chops down in the pan. They will sizzle and crackle with the moisture, but do not turn them. Let them get a good dark sear before turning, for our thick chops this took about 6 minutes, use your eyes to judge when yours are ready, then flip over and turn the heat down to medium. Add the reserved marinade’s chopped onion and garlic bits to the pan to sear them a little bit, and then 1 minute later before the garlic would want to burn, pour the reserved marinade juices into the pan alongside the chops (not on top of them.) Simmer down the juices until they are thickened, and at this point your chops will be done- you can check with a meat thermometer to be sure it’s 145 degrees inside.
Plate up with the steamy rice, the luscious black beans, and then the chops, with the sauce drizzled all over the top. Garnish with salsa fresca and cilantro if desired. PROVECHO!