Recipe

Roasted Pork Chops With Jeweled Rice Pilaf

This jeweled rice pilaf was inspired by a dish made for me by a Lebanese friend.
The already aromatic basmati rice is spiced with cinnamon, cumin, and allspice
and is bespeckled with dried fruits and nuts. The pork chops are glazed with an
orange-cardamom reduction that further enhances the flavors of this dish.

  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Four 12 ounce center-cut bone-in pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons instant flour, such as Wondra flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified unsalted butter
  • 1 cup small-diced yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup small diced carrot
  • Two 3 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup dates, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced small
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned
  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled between your fingers
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons Greek- style yogurt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted and coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Season the pork chops on both sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with the flour and set aside. Set a 12-inch flameproof casserole pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the ghee. When the oil is hot, place the pork chops in the pan and sear for 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee to the pan and, when hot, add the onion, carrot, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the onion and carrot are lightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the dates, apricots, currants, and basmati rice, stir to coat, and cook until the rice is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, saffron, orange zest, yogurt, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and, working quickly, place the pork chops on top of the rice. Cover and return the pan to the oven. Continue to cook until the pork is cooked through and has reached 140°F, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • While the pan is in the oven, combine the orange juice and cardamom pods in a 1-quart saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the juice has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the apricot jam and stir until melted. Strain the reduction through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside until ready to serve the pork and rice.
  • Brush the chops with the orange juice reduction and garnish with the almonds, pistachios, and mint. Serve immediately.