Here piggy, piggy… Pork Chops!

Remember a few months ago I posted about sofrito and about how it is the backbone of Latin cooking? Have you noticed how it seems to come up in most recipes I’ve made lately? I wouldn’t lie to you, now would I?

These yummy pork chops remind of Sunday afternoons when all my mami’s family would gather at one of the aunt’s homes for a big family-dinner-catch up session. These or the stewed chicken would show up together with some arroz con guandĂș and the best potato salad in the universe. YUM! Or as my bloggie Shutterboo would say, nomnomnomnom!

This is a really easy dish to put together. I used regular, bone-in pork chops, but you can use boneless or center cut chops. I like to have the fatty bits, it’s where the good stuff comes from, even if my Doc disagrees. Sidenote–this past weekend I caught one of Nigella’s Express episodes, she was making pork chops. They were similar cut as the ones I used, except they were thicker and she suggested trimming the fat. The funny thing was that she couldn’t help but explain that she would normally not trim them, but needed to for that recipe. She then said she would have to save that fat and fry it up for a late night snack. You know how they always show her sneaking to the kitchen in her jammies after she’s done cooking? Well, she did. She cooked up that fat and had it as a snack! I love that woman!

OK, back to my chops. Another non-recipe-recipe. Who needs all that structure anyway?!

Chuletas Guisadas (Stewed / Smothered Pork Chops)

6 pork chops
Sea salt
Black pepper
Crushed garlic
Olive oil
Onions, sliced
Bell peppers, sliced (I prefer red)
Tomatoes, chopped
Cilantro and Italian parsley, chopped
Habanero paste or hot sauce
White wine (optional)

First thing, season the pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic. Set them aside while you chop the onions, peppers, tomatoes et al.

Brown the chops in a large skillet over high heat, use about 1 tbsp of oil to keep them from sticking. Flip them around 3 minutes or so. Then drain and set aside.

In the same pan/skillet brown the onions and bell peppers, you may need to lower the temperature to medium to keep them from burning. Once the onions have softened, add the tomatoes, parsley and cilantro. Continue cooking to allow the tomatoes to soften before adding the wine. The wine will help loosen all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom. If you don’t want to use wine, you can opt for a lager beer, broth or even water. You’ll add enough liquid to cover the onion-tomato mixture.

This is a good time to season the broth, since the chops will braise in it. Add about 3 tbsp of ketchup–yes, trust me. At this time add the habanero paste, and about 2 tsps of sugar. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt & pepper as necessary.

When this comes to a boil, add the chops back in and don’t forget to include the juices that ran off from them while resting. Reduce the temperature so that it comes to a slow simmer. You want to make sure all the chops are in the liquid, even is they’re not covered by it. Allow this to simmer covered for 30 minutes, flipping them over to make sure all sides benefit from that sauce.

Once the chops are tender, remove the lid and raise the temperature to medium high to help the sauce reduce a bit and thicken. That’s it! Hurry, go eat!

Cookingly yours,