Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mole-Rubbed Pork Chops

I love authentic, Mexican cuisine. And lately, everyone has a recipe out to make unbelievable entrees. And it's all amazingly good!

From Napa cabbage topped fish tacos, to salty, cheesy quesadillas to creating the perfect picadillo - there are so many tantalyzing combinations to choose from. I don't know if I ever could name a true favorite - but this one eatery comes close. Too close...

This recipe is inspired by a small Chicago Mexican restaurant called Nuevo Leon (translates into New Lion in English). Their mole (a rich sauce crafted from local, indigenous ingredients), flavored with hearty chicken, tangy Ancho chiles, sweet raisins, and rich, dark chocolate is a huge crowd favorite.

With this rub, I'm trying to capture the essence of that mole. Blending the sweet with the savory is a tricky proposition on a good day, but this simple and easy combination will have your tastebuds dancing.

All this focus on Mexican food has given me so many inspirations - I just don't know where to start!

1 T. Ancho chile powder ($.20)
1 T. brown sugar ($.05)
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder ($.15)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder ($.05)
1/4 tsp. onion powder ($.05)
1/4 tsp. granulated chicken boullion ($.05)
1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional) ($.05)
a pinch of Mexican oregano ($.05)
Kosher salt and cracker black pepper - to taste ($.10)
3 T. lime juice (or lemon if lime isn't available) ($.15)
3 T. olive oil $.25)
4 bone-in, thick cut pork chops ($2.00)

Rub meat with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on lime juice. Let set for 1 hour. Mix together all remaining ingredients except olive oil and rub into the meat. Let set overnight.

Drizzle chops with olive oil and place in a hot, non-stick skillet (over medium-high heat), browning on each side.

Remove from pan, place on a non-stick baking sheet (foil covered or sprayed with cooking spray) and bake at 300 for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reads 140 F.

Sprinkle with cilantro - if desired and serve with fresh, hot tortillas, thin sliced avocado (spritzed with lemon or lime juice), salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream, red rice, and beans.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $3.15
Cost per serving: $.78 per serving

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