Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Grilled Pork Chops with spiced Pineapple

Grilled Pork Chops with spiced Pineapple
Why this recipe works: Pork chops can be bland, but when they’re spiced up with a quick dip in a marinade, then grilled over an open fire, they’re anything but. A simple, tangy marinade containing chili powder, vinegar, and sugar works to improve our pork in three distinct ways. First, the marinade does what marinades do best – adds flavor. Second, the liquid is absorbed into the meat, which helps keep the chops(which are thin and prone to drying out) moist during cooking. Finally, the sugar in the marinade encourages browning, so the chops come off the grill with a perfectly caramelized crust. We forgo the bowl and marinate our pork chops in a zipper – lock bag. For a unique yet easy – to – make complement, we turned to pineapple. The sweet, acidic fruit contrasts nicely with the relatively mild taste of the pork without overpowering the meat. A sprinkling of chili powder and lime juice gives the pineapple a spicy, Mexican – inspired twist and ties the dish together. The fruit can be served over the chops or on the side.

Grilled Pork chops with spice Pineapple
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, preferabley ancho salt and pepper
8 thin – cut bone – in pork chops (3 to 4 ounces each), about ½ inch thick
1 (20 – ounce) can pineapple rings or 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced ½ inch   thick
1 tablespoon lime juice

  1. Combine vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar, ¾ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in zipper – lock bag. Transfer chops to bag and marinate 20 minutes. When ready to use, remove chops and discard marinade.
  2. Grill chops over hot fire until first side begins to turn opaque around edges, about 2 minutes. Flip chops and grill until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toss pineapple, lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and remaining chili powder in large bowl. Serve with chops.

Smart shopping pineapple
A survey of local supermarkets produced pineapple of two origins: Hawaii and Costa Rica (easily identified by their attached tags). The chosen pineapples (four from each growing region) were similar in ripeness. All yielded slightly when touched, were golden in color (green pineapples are under ripe), and carried that familiar heady pineapple aroma. The fruit from Hawaii was astoundingly astringent. Tasters could only unpucker their mouths long enough to exclaim “bitter” and “sour.” The Costa Rican pineapple, packed with an ultra sweet, honeylike flavor that one taster called “pumped – up pineapple,” triumphed in the tasting. There are no doubt some bad Costa Rican pineapples for sale as well as some better Hawaiian fruit, but in our experience, it pays to check a pineapple’s origins. 

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