Pork Chops with Tomatillo and Green Apple Sauce and Couscous

by Kelly on June 2, 2010

With only a few weeks left until summer officially arrives in the US, I’ve thrown myself into spring cleaning. The kitchen is my most used, most tidied, but least organized part of my house. It’s hard to thoroughly clean out a room that always seems to have someone in it. In an attempt to use up my food odds and ends so I could wipe down shelves, I took a stab at this admittedly strange-sounding pork chop recipe. I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have tried the dish if I didn’t need to use up two aging green apples, a can of tomatillos bought on clearance, a frozen chipotle pepper and a package of pork chops. But necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case, genius. The sweetness of the green apple lends just the right amount of zing to the spice of the chipotle and sour of the tomatillos. It’s pretty enough to serve your mother and unique enough to make for your foodie friends.

To liven up the Israeli couscous, I cooked the couscous according to the package directions, making sure to toast it before adding the liquid. Once cooked, stir in a few tablespoons of minced fresh parsley, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t forget to season to taste with salt and pepper. I used an Israeli couscous, lentil and quinoa blend, but plain Israeli couscous tastes just as good.

Pork Chops with Tomatillo and Green Apple Sauce
adapted from Gourmet, June 2004

Serves 4 to 6

for the pork chops:
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 x 1‑inch-thick loin pork chops

for the tomatillo and green apple sauce:
12 oz (340 g) canned, whole tomatillos (or 1/2 lb/225 g fresh tomatillos)
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup (10 g) loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) water or apple juice
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 minced canned chipotle chile in adobo

Stir together the coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add the oil and stir until combined well. Rub the spice mixture all over the chops. Let the chops marinate while making the sauce.

If using fresh tomatillos, remove the husks and rinse the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos in water, uncovered, until the tomatillos are just soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cool for 15 minutes.

Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/4‑inch dice.

Purée the canned (or cooked) tomatillos with the remaining sauce ingredients except the apples in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the apples.

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or ridged grill pan. Lightly oil the surface of the pan, then sear the pork chops over a moderately high heat, turning over once, until well browned and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can grill the pork chops over medium heat until done, about 15 minutes total, depending on the thickness of the chop. Serve with the sauce spooned on top.

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