There's a chapter headed "Tender Meats" in Leslie Revsin's cookbook, "The Simpler The Better: Sensational Home Cooking in 3 Easy Steps" (Wiley, 2004, $24.95). Among the offerings therein is a recipe for Cuban pork chops.
So: That settles the "what's for dinner?" question for anyone with a taste for tender pork and vibrant seasoning. Oh, and for anyone who's too hungry to fiddle with more than half-an-hour's prep at the end of a long day.
Revsin is a chef, food writer and consultant, television food-show host and author of several other cookbooks. She says her goal in this book is to help home cooks by offering pared-down cooking, really good food and no gimmicks, and she includes some 100 recipes with few steps that can be ready in under 30 minutes.
"In Cuba, lots of garlic, freshly squeezed lime juice and aromatic cumin are a favorite way to season roast pork," she says. "I think the combo is good with chops, too." In this recipe, the chops cook on top of the stove while their lime and garlic pan juices reduce to a sauce around them.
CUBAN PORK CHOPS
4 large garlic cloves
4 center-cut pork chops, 8 ounces each, cut 1 inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Thinly slice garlic. Dry pork chops with paper towels. Season generously with salt.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stand and brown fat edge of chops, about 2 minutes. Brown first side, about 2 minutes. Turn over, and brown 1 minute more. Scatter garlic around chops and cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Add lime juice and 1/4 cup water.
Cook, uncovered, turning chops once or twice, until done and 1/4 cup syrupy juices remain, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chops to plates and spoon sauce on top. Sprinkle with cumin and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.
Simple tip: If the pan juices reduce too much before the chops are done, add a little more water. If you add too much, just boil down the juices after the chops are out of the pan.
Serving suggestions: Spinach or Swiss chard or cooked carrots sauteed with red bell peppers. Plain buttered rice or rice mixed with black beans.
Recipe from "The Simpler The Better: Sensational Home Cooking in 3 Easy Steps" by Leslie Revsin, Wiley, 2004, $24.95.