Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pork Chops with Chiles Rellenos and Ancho Sauce

I was traveling earlier this week so I didn't get on as soon as I'd like to post this week's blog and it also took me some time to figure out what I wanted to make. I didn't really have any particular ingredient or style in mind so I just went site searching for something that looked good. My first stop is typically followed closely by bonappetit won this time. This recipe just looked so good to start with and the ingredients looked intriguing. I hadn't ever cooked with cumin seeds before and poblano chiles are a recent favorite for me. I had an interesting learning experience as I shopped for the poblano's this time as well. The store I went to had some chile's that I thought looked like poblano's but they were labeled as pasilla's. I did some googling and found that this is apparently a mistake in many grocery stores. The pasilla is actually the dried version but the stores continue to call the poblano's by that name. Good to know for future purchases.

This recipe turned out to be a a definite win. Even the kids loved the sauce and although they wouldn't touch the chile, the did like the potato mixture from the inside. I love how poblano's have that subtle heat and together with the ancho chile powder in the sauce, there's a good little kick. I only found one jar of the ancho chile powder among the bottles of other chili powders. It does have a very different taste so I would definitely try and find it for this. I actually couldn't find the double concentrated tomato paste at our grocery store. I just used regular paste so not sure how much of a difference that would have made.

One last thing on the recipe. I wasn't 100% sure how it wanted you to grill the chile's on the BBQ. It sounded like it wanted you to grill them on the sheet pan over the BBQ. I ended up doing them just on a piece of tin foil I placed on the grill. They stuck somewhat to that so I'd spray it a little next time to get them to come off a bit easier but they still turned out fine.


6 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
12 ounces unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes or baby Dutch potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups coarsely grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano plus oregano leaves for garnish
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
5 teaspoons ancho chile powder, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Italian double-concentrated tomato paste*
1 cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
6 1-inch-thick pork loin chops on bone, frenched

Olive oil
  • *Available in tubes at some supermarkets and at Italian markets.


  • Char chiles over gas flame or in broiler until blackened all over. Place chiles in bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam 15 minutes. Peel, leaving stem intact (do not tear flesh of chiles). Using small sharp knife, cut 1 long slit down side of each chile; carefully remove seeds. Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darkened and aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Set chiles and cumin aside.

    Line rimless baking sheet with foil. Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer potatoes to medium bowl; cool. Add cheese, chopped oregano, and toasted cumin; stir to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully fill chiles with potato mixture, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup filling for each. Working with 1 chile at a time, hold in palm and squeeze gently to compress lightly. Place stuffed chiles on prepared sheet. 
  • Combine broth, juice, 2 teaspoons chile powder, and next 4 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened and reduced to 2/3 cup, 8 to 9 minutes. DO AHEAD Chiles and sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately. Let chiles return to room temperature before continuing.
  • Mix 3 teaspoons chile powder and 1 tablespoon coarse salt in small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over pork chops; let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.
  • Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush pork with oil. Place pork chops on 1 side of grill. Transfer chiles on foil to opposite side of grill. Grill pork chops until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to plate and let rest 10 minutes. Grill chiles until cheese melts, about 15 minutes.
  • Rewarm sauce. Place 1 pork chop and 1 chile on each plate. Drizzle sauce over, sprinkle with oregano leaves, and serve. 

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