Now and then when I'm too tired to cook anything too labor-intensive, I'll pick up some pork chops, mix together this simple rosemary-based spice rub, and slather it across my chops. A few minutes later we're having beautifully grilled pork for dinner. No grill or grill-pan? No worries, just use a skillet. This dish would be nice with some polenta, or bed of mashed sweet potatoes. I recently served it atop shredded Brussels sprouts with a side of steamed yellow beats.
Simple Rosemary-Rubbed Pork Chops
Makes four servings
4 pork loin chops (about 1/2 pound each)
1 - 2 teaspoons olive oil for the pan
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Combine rosemary, brown sugar, salt, pepper and cumin in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over chops. Let spices penetrate meat for a few minutes before cooking. If there's time, cover and put in refrigerator for a few hours before cooking.
If chops have been refrigerated, remove from refrigerator and let the chill dissipate for 10-15 minutes. Cook on an oiled, pre-heated (medium-high) grill-pan or skillet, oiled grill about 5 minutes on each side.
A nice, thick 1-inch chop will be done (medium-rare) in about 12 minutes, so about six minutes per side, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 145°.*
Tent with foil, and let rest a few minutes before serving as the chop will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the grill.
Serve with pan juices, mustard or a nice chutney.
*The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service says that pork must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F in order to be certain you have destroyed any foodborne organisms. Personally, I find a piece of pork cooked to 160° very dry and know that most chefs looking for an edible chop use 145° as their benchmark. One of the best ways to ensure you are eating safe meat is to buy it fresh, cook and eat it the same or the next day, cook with clean hands. If you can afford it, buy organic or antibiotic-free meat from as small and local a farmer as possible.