Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pork Chops in a Sweet Chili and Onion Sauce









Let me first say, this recipe is a winner and has earned a spot on our dinner rotation, but if I'm being honest, this was a meal I didn't think went together all too well. When flipping through the pages of an old cookbook, the pork chop portion caught my eye, but I was skeptical about the cilantro potato salad. After doing a quick search for reviews of the meal, I found I wasn't the only one who thought the combination odd, however most reviews said the two were great together. Even though I wasn't completely sold on the side dish, I added both to our menu. It turns out, they actually weren't crazy and the two did work together and made a delicious meal. The sweet chili and onion sauce provided a subtle, but flavorful accompaniment to the pork chop. The potato salad was nice and light, not to mention full of good veggies. I found myself going back for more potato salad and quite honestly would have loved another pork chop (or at least a half of one). I’m looking forward to the leftovers and its return on our weekly menu. 

Pork Chops in a Sweet Chili and Onion Sauce with Creamy Cilantro Potato Salad


2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 to 6 boneless center-cut pork chops

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 heaping tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 celery ribs, finely chopped

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the potatoes in a sauce pot and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, add course salt, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the potatoes and spread out onto a rimmed cookie sheet to cool quickly, about 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are working, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Place the chops in the skillet and sear for about 2 minutes on each side to caramelize. Transfer the chops to a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven to finish off, 7 to 8 minutes, until the meat reaches between 150 to 155 degrees. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest, covered with foil, for a few minutes.

While the chops bake, return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, three quarters of the chopped onion, the chili powder, cumin, two thirds of the garlic, the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer until reduced by half. Once reduced, turn off the heat and whisk in the cold butter.

While the sweet chili-onion sauce is cooking, in a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cilantro, the remaining chopped onions, the remaining garlic, the red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to the dressing the chopped celery and red bell peppers. When you are ready to serve, add the cooled potatoes. Stir the potatoes to combine, and check the seasoning.

Pour the sweet chili-onion sauce over the rested pork chops; serve the creamy cilantro potato salad alongside.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats

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