Have you ever, in the middle of making dinner, wished you had gone out? Well, welcome to my world when I recently tried to replicate a meal I enjoyed on a cruise. One evening on the cruise, I enjoyed a wonderful mojo-marinated pork chop. I enjoyed the pork chop so much I asked for the recipe and actually received it. However, once I started reading the recipe, I realized that the recipe was for 50 lbs. of pork, so many pounds of lemons, so many pounds of lime, etc.
Rather than break the recipe down to two pork chops, I went out to the internet. There are many versions of the mojo sauce (marinade) on the internet. I came across a delicious sounding recipe by Guy Fieri and set about getting everything I needed, or so I thought, to re-create these delectable chops.
1 cup plus ¼ cup orange juice, divided
½ cup plus ¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
¼ cup vinegar
4 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup white wine
1 cup watercress, for garnish
1 Roma tomato, chopped, for garnish
½ avocado, sliced, for garnish
- In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup orange juice, ½ cup lime juices, and vinegar. Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup lime juice, and white wine. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.
- Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half. Pour over the chops and serve immediately.
- Garnish with watercress, tomatoes and avocado.
I started to gather the ingredients only to find that I was missing several and low on others. Not discouraged I decided to go ahead and make do with whatever I had. This recipe called for 4 chops I planned on only cooking 2 so reduced the ingredients accordingly. I was missing onion powder, so used minced onion. I did not have a small red onion, so I used a small white onion. And, I discovered that I was woefully low on lime juice. By now, I am thinking: Just put everything away and make the recipe another day. But, no, I just pushed ahead.
I decided to make petite red-skinned mashed potatoes, peas, applesauce and orange slices to complete the meal. While the pork chops were simmering I prepared the potatoes, or so I thought. At some point I checked on the potatoes and stood frozen looking down into the water. I could not believe my eyes, I had peeled the potatoes. Once again I wished I had just gone out for dinner. I turned my attention back to the pork chops, which by now should have been cooked through. No such luck. The sauce had thickened, everything smelled wonderful and the chops were seared beautifully, but raw inside.
I thought about it for a few moments and then put them into the oven at 350° for about 20 minutes. While they were cooking I went ahead and set the table, and finished the sides. At the end of the 20 minutes I plated the dinner. I made a small cut into my chop only to find that they were not ready. Good heavens! By now I was looking at Randy and said, in frustration, “Let’s just eat our vegetables and when the chops come out we can enjoy them with the applesauce”. And that is exactly what we did. I let the chops cooks another 10 minutes. This was definitely a different way to eat a meal, but what a great meal. The aroma created while the chops cooked was just wonderful, and once they were done they were absolutely delicious. The searing sealed the chops so that all the juices were captured, and the combination of the spice rub and citrus reduction was a mouth-watering delight.
I will make these chops again. Only, next time I will be better prepared.