Recipe: Pork Chops with Chipotle Cream Sauce

Pork Chop with Chipotle Cream Sauce, black beans, and cilantro lime rice

Pork Chop with Chipotle Cream Sauce, black beans, and cilantro lime rice

I defrosted a package of pork chops for dinner on Sunday without any sort of real plan as to what to do with them. They were fine specimens: thick-cut to about an inch and a quarter with just enough fat on the edges to keep them juicy and flavorful. So what to do? Do I fire up the grill? No, too long to get charcoal started. Maybe I could bake them? Maybe, but I need a flavor for them. Pan-fry? Tasty, but a chop this thick would in no way cook all the way through before any breading burned to a carbony crisp. So what did I do?

Basically, I opened a can of awesome on them. Earlier in the week, Shauna made nachos with a homemade chipotle cheese sauce. Canned chipotles in adobo were on sale at the grocery store and she thought it would be a good idea to have some around for, you know, whatever. As I looked at the chops and back at the chipotles, a plan came together. I knew combining the peppers in the breading wouldn’t be easy, so I did the next best thing: make a sauce.

Quite some time ago, we used the recipe from Men in Aprons for a Hatch Green Chile Cream Sauce with some Anaheims that we picked up. It made for a great topping for carnitas and a great salad dressing. I figured that one pepper substitution was as good as another and popped in those leftover chipotles as my pepper of choice.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chipotle peppers
  • ½ cup sour cream (thicker) or yogurt (thinner)
  • ¼ cup mayonaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

Directions:

This is about as easy as it comes. Dump all of the ingredients into your food processor or heavy duty blender (our Vita-Mix works well for this) and crank it up until everything it nice and smooth. You can use yogurt for this, but it will be a thinner sauce. Also note that you can vary the number of peppers and opt to use a bit of the adobo should you want to kick up the spiciness. I made a double batch and dumped in 8 peppers with most of the adobo sauce for a rather fiery mixture.

So what of the pork chops? I opted to use the best of both worlds. Pan-frying would give me a good, crispy exterior whereas baking would bring the finished product up to temperature. I opted for a simple cornmeal dredge so that the texture and flavor would have a bit more punch.

Ingredients:

  • 4pork chops 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches thick
  • 1eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning mix (use packaged or make your own)
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Beat the egg and milk in a shallow pan until combined. Combine the corn meal and taco seasoning in another shallow pan or on a large plate. Put the oil in a skillet over medium heat to about ½ inch deep. Heat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Put the flour in a large zip-top bag and drop in the pork chops. Shake until the pork chops are thoroughly coated.
  3. Shake the pork chops as you remove them from the bag, then dip in the milk and egg mixture to coat, then roll in the cornmeal mixture.
  4. Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook until the coating is crispy, then flip and repeat. When done, place them on a cooling rack on a sheet pan or cookie tray while you do the next batch. As with all frying, do not crowd the pan and let the temperature of the oil recover for a minute or two after you finish a batch.
  5. One all of the pork chops are done, grab your trusty probe thermometer (c’mon, they’re like $10 at IKEA) and pop it into one of the first chops to be done. Place the pan of fried chops into the oven and cook until you reach 150°F. I know, pork is supposed to go to 160°F-165°F; the carryover heat will finish the job. If you don’t have a thermometer and won’t go get one, I’d say the cook time is about 15-20 minutes.

Service is deadly simple. Grab a chop, pour on some sauce, and enjoy. Pair that up with a side of black beans and maybe a bit of cilantro lime rice and you have yourself a darn good dinner. Shauna says all pork chops should be cooked this way. I’m hard-pressed to disagree.

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