Moroccan Spiced Boneless Pork Chops

Source: Micki Seibel, May 2013

Source: Micki Seibel, May 2013

This recipe utilizes the aromatic Moroccan Spice Rub that I posted earlier (although I include the instructions for it in this post for your convenience). This spice rub is an especially aromatic blend that goes well with pork or chicken and whose flavor is especially enhanced with the pan fry method illustrated here.

The instructions for the spice rub below will make enough for several meals. It can made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.

Ingredients

For the spice rub

  • 1/4 cup whole fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp whole cardamom seeds
  • 2 tsp whole cloves

For the pork chops

  • 4 boneless pork chops, about 1″ thick
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp peanut or coconut oil

Directions

Let your pork chops rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Source: Micki Seibel, April 2013

Let your pork chops rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Source: Micki Seibel, April 2013


To make the spice rub

  1. Heat a large suate pan over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients and roast over medium heat 3-5 minutes or until you can smell their fragrance.
  2. Once cool, combine in a clean coffee grinder and finely grind.

To make the pork chops

  1. Generously salt and pepper your pork chops and press several tablespoons of spice rub into the meet. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pork chops and sauté for 3 minutes. Flip, and sauté for 2 minutes more.
  4. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and sauté for 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of a pork chop reaches 145 degrees fahrenheit.
  5. When the chops are done, remove them to a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes then serve.

How to Not Screw It Up

Using a probe-style thermometer removes the guesswork from doneness. You get it perfect every time. Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012

Using a probe-style thermometer removes the guesswork from doneness. You get it perfect every time. Source: Micki Seibel, September 2012

  1. No, you won’t get food poisoning by letting your chops rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This 30 minutes give the salt time to start drawing moisture out of the tissue. Just as important, by bringing the pork (or any meat, for that matter) closer to room temperature than refrigerator temperature before cooking, you ensure that the center is not undercooked (your best bet for avoiding food poisoning).
  2. Be generous with the salt. Adding salt to your meat does NOT add sodium to your diet. Repeat: does NOT add sodium to your diet. Why? Because the salt dissolves under the heat of cooking, so it’s not sodium by the time you eat it. However,  it is THE KEY to bringing out flavors in food that your taste buds can actually detect.
  3. If your skillet or sauté pan does not have a lid, you can cover your pan with two layers of aluminum foil instead.
  4. I can not emphasize enough the importance of using a meat thermometer. It is the only way to ensure that your pork chops are properly cooked. It removes all of the guess work.
  5. I know those pork chops smell SOOOO good, but do not cut corners and serve them without letting them rest for 5 more minutes. Letting meat rest after cooking does two very important things: a) it allows the internal temperature of the meat to come to a rolling stop on temperature (in other words, it ain’t fully cooked until its rested) and b) it allows the juices to settle so that you get a juicy piece of goodness when you cut into it.