Cheap and Good Supper: Orange-Cumin Pork Chops
How about a simple, inexpensive dish you can start in the morning, that's good enough for company, and that cooks in fewer than 30 minutes? Orange-Cumin Pork Chops marinate in the refrigerator while you work or play, brown quickly on the stove when you're ready, and then bake for about 10 minutes in the oven atop a wild rice blend. The chops are juicy, mildly spiced with warm, earthy cumin, and get a bit of zing from orange zest. Garlic and fennel seed led a little flair to the chops. After browning the chops and arranging them on the rice, be sure to add the chicken broth to the pan to take advantage of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pouring the simple reduction sauce over the chops and rice also keeps them moist in the oven. Serve the chops with a salad and/or a simple green vegetable and you've got a great week night meal.
Orange-Cumin Pork Chops -- Serves 6
6 pork chops, each 1-1 1/2 inches thick
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 tablespoon of grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of wild rice blend (I use Trader Joe's, which cooks in 15 minutes and has no salt added)
1 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth (or 1 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon of chicken reduced
sodium "Better Than Bullion")
Put the pork chops into a plastic bag with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the orange juice, orange zest, cumin, fennel seeds, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and seal the bag. Gently shake or squish the bag to ensure that the chops are coated with the other ingredients. Refrigerate the chops in the bag, if possible, for at least a few hours. When you're ready to cook the chops, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put the rice on to cook and heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and let it heat up. Remove the chops from the marinade, but save the marinade. Place the chops in the hot skillet and brown them for 3-5 minutes on each side. Don't crowd the skillet when you put the chops in. If the chops won't all fit in the skillet with room to spare, cook the chops in two batches. Spread the cooked rice in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and arrange the browned chops over the rice. Add the chicken broth and reserved marinade from the pork to the now empty skillet and whisk them together, also whisking in the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Let the broth mixture cook a few minutes until slightly reduced and then pour the mixture over the chops and rice in the casserole dish. Bake the chops for 8-12 minutes or until the chops reach 140-145 degrees in the center. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before you serve them.