I love hearing what different home cooks fall back on for simple, weekday meals. The easiest of easy are the dishes that come straight out of the freezer or out of the hands of delivery guys. The next level of my “easy” repertoire includes omelets or meals featuring canned black beans. One more step up are a handful of recipes that I can prepare without looking at the recipe because they are so familiar. They are slightly more interesting than the usual weekday mundane but not much more work to prepare.
This group of recipes is what I think of as a home chef’s “sweet spot.” They taste delicious and look like you fussed when you didn’t. Years ago, my friend Stephanie gave me a copy of this pork recipe from her 2003 Food & Wine magazine. It was tucked into my ragtag three-ring binder that holds loose clippings. Over the years, I have made it so many times that I no longer need to reference the recipe and I have honed it slightly to accommodate my flavor preferences.
The pork chops are flavorful and moist thanks to the spice rub you sear on them and the lemon juice bath they enjoy before they are finished in the oven. I often serve the chops alongside sweet potato fries or green beans.
What recipes are in your “sweet spot?” What do you fall back on time and time again? I am always looking for new additions to my daily repertoire.
Chili-Dusted Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro
From Food & Wine
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Four 1/2-pound boneless pork loin chops, cut 1 1/4 inches thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, mix the chili powder with the cumin, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork chops.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the pork chops and cook over high heat until browned, about 1 minute per side. Add the garlic, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro to the skillet and roast the chops in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, or until rosy throughout. Transfer to plates and serve.
NOTES One Serving 418 calories, 25.5 gm total fat, 8.7 gm saturated fat, 4 gm carb.