Thursday, February 12, 2009
When asked by Gloria of Cookbook Cuisine if I would be willing to write a review I really saw it as a perfect opportunity for me to grow a little in a cuisine that was totally unfamiliar to me. Gloria's book "Foods and Flavors of San Antonio" is the embodiment of her love of Tex Mex cuisine. After receiving a number of recipes to choose from, I selected one that is originally called Mexican Pork Chops. I noticed that Gloria suggested that this dish could be made with chicken so I opted for chicken. The recipe that I've copied below is the original recipe from Gloria's book with a couple of my own small changes.
There are two ways to prepare this dish, either finished in the oven or finished on the stovetop. I selected the stovetop method only because Gloria said it was her favourite way of preparing it.
The ingredients for the Mexican Chicken dish are reasonably easy to find. The only one that was not available in the great white north is the Mexican stewed tomatoes so I substituted with herbed stewed tomatoes. Firstly, let me start at the end - the dish was entirely delicious - so much so that even my two dogs were hanging around the stove, noses in the air wondering if they were going to get any. Sorry puppies, onions not so good for doggies.
The preparation was about 15 minutes with a stovetop cook time of 45 minutes. One could say that even after a hard day's work and you don't feel like cooking, you would opt to make this one - hardly any effort at all. This fits into my easy peezey category and smells delicious while it's simmering. Another bonus for this recipe is that it's inexpensive to make and you can increase and decrease quantities very easily. The leftovers next day were as flavourful as they were when they were made and didn't dry out - that definitely works for me.
My thinking is that if all of the recipes are as easy and satisfying as this one, I recommend you buy the book. I'm also pretty excited because I now realize that Tex Mex combination of flavours is highly appealing.
The verdict: I'm not done with Tex Mex; I'm only just beginning.
Mexican Pork Chops
This is one of my favorite recipes. There are two ways to make
it and both are delicious. I prefer the stovetop method.
2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil
4 center loin pork chops,
trimmed of fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder
1⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
11⁄2 cups water
1 15 oz. can Mexican stewed
tomatoes, cut up
3⁄4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. L ightly spray a 13x9" baking
dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork
chops and brown on both sides. Transfer to the prepared baking
Add the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Sauté
in the pork drippings until tender. Season with the black pepper,
chili powder, and cumin.
Add the water and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to
blend the flavors.
Sprinkle the rice over the pork chops. Pour the sauce over.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5 to 10
more minutes or until the cheese melts.
Stovetop / Variation: Return the pork chops to the sauce in
the skillet. Prepare the rice separately. Cover and simmer for 45
minutes, stirring and turning occasionally. Serve over hot cooked
rice. To make Mexican Chicken Chops, use 4 skinless, boneless
chicken breasts instead of pork chops.