Roasted Pork Chops with Peach and Herb Israeli Cous Cous

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heaven. On a plate.

But first...


I hated pork chops for most of my life. My mother made an abhorant version of pork chops. Dry, brittle, terribly under or way overly seasoned chops with the texture akin to shoe leather were often forced down our throats many a week night. God forbid my father was let loose with the grill -- then we'd have Arson Victim Pork Chops. Very no bueno. In short, after years and years of improperly cooked pork chops, I grew to hate them and never made them myself. Just never wanted to.

A few weeks ago The Hubsters implored me to make him a chop. You see, he -- conversely -- had decent chops as a kid and actually enjoyed eating them. This blew my mind, because I never met a chop I could actually eat without a full on glass of Pepsi to help it go down. Never one to back down from a challenge, I took it head on. And marched down to Whole Foods to get myself a couple of thick cut, bone-in pork chops. My mission: make them taste fucking good.

Mission accomplished.

I knew I wanted to grill them. Charcoal would add some smoke and flavor to my pork that I knew I would love. I'd be careful -- no arson victim here -- and season them simply with salt and peper with the smallest sprinkling of smoked paprika. Why? Because I felt like it.

To go with my perfectly cooked chops would be something sweet but not obvious. I had peaches so I used them. Peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with cooked tender Israeli cous cous I flavored simply with chicken broth. To add brightness I added some fresh herbs: parsley, scallion, and mint. An earthy bite from shallots added the requisite crunch I wanted.

Together this meal was exquisite. Simple, bright and extremely flavorful without being fussy or overly dramatic. This meal showcased how far I'd come as a cook -- my skills at the grill for the perfect juicy chop together with a side balanced both in flavor and texture hit the mark high. I'd done it again. Now I pass it on to you.

This meal is fast enough for any week night. Elegant enough for a weekend dinner with friends or family. Put this in your repetoire and impress everyone. You're welcome.

Pork Chops with Peach and Herb Israeli Cous Cous
2 pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper
smoked paprika -- about 1 tsp estimation
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup israeli cous cous
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 ripe but firm peach, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

For the pork chops:
Season the chops with salt and pepper to taste on both side, then sprinkle some of the paprila on both sides of each chop. Preheat grill to medium-high. Place chops on grill and cook until pulls easily away from the grill and a deep golden crust forms. Flip over and grill other side until nice golden brown crust forms.

*Note: pork chops are best served medium (a departure from previously held well-done for pork; this recipe aims to cook chops to medium well; for well done chops add 2-3 minutes to total cooking time.

For the cous cous:

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add the cous cous, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Cook for about 12 minutes or until cous cous is al dente and liquid is absorbed. Cous cous should be nice and tender. Toss cous cous with remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be served warm or at room temperature, and can be made up to a few hours in advance of the pork chops.

To serve, simply plate up the cous cous in a heaping pile and add a grilled chop right on top. Serve immediately.

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