Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I grew up in Texas, and if there's one thing that I miss living out here in North Carolina, it's Tex-Mex cuisine. Enchiladas Verdes, Fajitas, Arroz Con Pollo, Tamales, Quesadillas...my mouth drools just thinking about it. There is a Mexican restaurant in town that we like, and I've tried making homemade meals at home, but nothing quite compares to what I left behind when we moved here. So I was really tickled when I found the Foods and Flavors of San Antonio blog. Heaven! That's where I found this recipe.
Mexican Pork Chops
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
4 center loin pork chops, trimmed of fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garllic, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (15oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes, cut up (I used Rotel Diced Toatoes & Green Chilies)
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and brown on both sides. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Saute in the pork drippings until tender. Season with black pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Add the water and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Sprinkle the rice over the pork chops. Pour the sauce over. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 more minutes or until the cheese melts. Stove top: Return the pork chops to the sauce in the skillet. Prepare the rice separately. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring and turning occasionally. Serve over hot cooked rice.
If freezing: Brown chops and saute' vegetables. Add seasonings and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until chops are done. Place pork chops, vegetables and seasonings in a freezer bag; squeeze out air, seal, lay flat and freeze. Thaw 24 hours in refrigerator. Prepare rice, and heat pork chops in microwave. Serve pork chops with rice and cheese, if desired.
We omitted the cheese and the rice. I prepared this as a freezer meal in advance a month ago, and I haven't been brave enough to freeze rice. I kept out the cheese to keep down the fat content. We were in a hurry to run some errands this evening, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up the rice. I loved the sauce and the vegetables, although they certainly packed a lot of heat! The pork chops were a little tough, which I think happened because I overcooked them during the browning process on my freezer meal day. But I'm glad I made this meal as it took me back to my favorite eateries in the San Antonio/Austin area, and even having chewy pork chops was worth that!
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