Oct 19

Inspired by “Just Making Noise”; I decided to enter Foodie Fights.  I knew what I was getting into because for her challenge (which she won!) she had to pair coconut and black beans (Bizarre Love Triangle Brownies – Click for Recipe) talk about requiring creativity!

I signed up and was picked! I received the email telling me I was in the night after our anniversary dinner at Bistro de Paris in Epcot which inspired my inner chef.

The mystery ingredients: Cumin and Pecans.  “Umm — yeah, I always cook dishes with both of those ingredients!”  At first it seemed an impossible task.  But then I started to really think …

My first instinct was to candy the pecans with a spicy sweet mixture that included cumin and orange and then put them in a salad with a sweet vinaigrette.  But considering that the previous winner made brownies out of black beans — I knew salad was not going to cut it.  My next direction was turkey.  I’ve made cornbread stuffing with pecans, and it seemed appropriate for this time of year.  I thought I could bring cumin in using gravy and the dressing.  But honestly, this idea left me uninspired.  I was really liking the marriage of the Cumin and Pecans with Orange and Goats Cheese — I just needed an officiant to bring it together.

My answer was pork chops.  I love a huge bone in pork chop, and bone-in pork chops love orange and cumin. I knew with the proper introduction, they would also love pecans and goat cheese.

I started by seasoning the pork chops and lightly dusting them with cumin.  I used a very light hand here, because if you go too heavy with cumin it will take over, I just wanted to build a layer of flavor.  Next I got my stainless saucier pan screaming hot and browned the chops on each side.

While they were browning I prepared the goat cheese spread.  I coated each pork chop with about 1 Tbsp of the goat cheese mixture (which had cumin and orange zest to build the layers of flavor) and then nestled pecans into the goat cheese and finished it in the oven.

When the chops were done I set them aside to rest and made a pan sauce with orange juice and chicken stock and served with wilted spinach.  Our chief food critic, Bill’s 17 year old son, ate TWO pork chops.  I’d say it was a hit.

UPDATE:
I’ve had a chance to see a couple of other entries — it’s interesting the different directions we each took with the ingredients.  It’s going to be tough competition, I’m happy I’m not judging.  Voting starts Tuesday 10/20 and the winner is announced on Thursday morning.  Please pop over and check out the other entries (you’ll probably even find a new “must read” food blog) and VOTE FOR ME! (working really hard to avoid a “Vote for Pedro and all your dreams will come true” moment)

So, without further adieu, the recipe follows.

4 bone-in pork chops
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin divided
2 Tbsp Olive oil
6oz soft goat cheese
zest of one orange
1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup onion diced
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbs apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper and lightly dust with cumin and let them rest for at least 30 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel. Using a hot, oven proof saute pan, brown the pork chops on each side (3 minutes each side).  Do not crowd the pan or you won’t get a good crust.  I have a 12 inch saucier and I worked in two batches.

While the chops are browning, combine goat cheese, 1/2 tsp cumin and orange zest.

Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp of goat cheese mixture on each chop about 1/4 inch thick.  You want to take care not to use too much goat cheese, it will overpower the dish.   Nestle pecans in the goat cheese and return to pan.  Bake until the pork is 155 degrees which for 1 inch thick chops was about 30 minutes.  Set aside to rest.  The pork will reach 160 degrees while resting, but if you bring it to 160 in the oven it will dry out before you serve it.

Placing an oven-mit or towel over the pan handle for safety, place the pan on the stove over medium high heat.   Deglaze the pan with orange juice, add chicken stock, remaing 1/2 tsp cumin and vinegar, taste for seasoning.  You may want to add a slurry of corn starch to thicken the sauce.  Strain the sauce before serving.

Enjoy!

So — the other side of the story?  Making my Foodie Fight dinner wasn’t enough for me, so I decided to make brioche at the same time.  During the making of this meal I fielded six phone calls , burned four different places on my arm, and my hand (not me, just my hand) grabbed the handle on the pan I had just removed from the oven and burned itself, I screeched 62 first rate swear words (approximately) and consumed zero glasses of wine before dinner.  As we were doing the dishes I realized that I took exactly ZERO photos of the process.  :sigh:

That said, I had more fun doing this than I ever would have expected.  I spent day’s pondering the recipe and planning the steps.  I hope they let me do it again!  Next time I won’t try making brioche at the same time.

6 Responses to “Foodie Fight! Cumin Scented Pork Chop with Goat Cheese, Pecans and Orange Sauce!”

  1. Sounds great! I am going to do the foodie fight as soon as I get time when people aren’t visiting. Good luck!!

  2. Pork chops sound wonderful with goat cheese & pecans! Fabulous meal!

  3. What a great recipe – so creative. I know I would like this one. You have my vote!!!

  4. flavor combo sounds great! you have my tummy rumblin 🙂 got my vote!

  5. Thank you all for your votes and support! Sorry I was slow to respond today.

  6. Great recipe! i voted for you!!

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