Pork chops: quick and healthful

DINNER TONIGHT

April 27, 2005|By Mark Graham | Mark Graham,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Pork has a lot going for it: It cooks up quickly, it's a good source of protein and it's relatively low in calories.

Boneless pork chops, like the ones used in this recipe, are cut from the front of the center loin. If you choose to use bone-in pork chops for this dish, you will get the added luxury of a small chunk of the tenderloin next to the T-bone. Be sure to add three to five minutes' extra cooking time, however.

A tangy salsa and three-bean salad add flair and color to the plate. You can buy a ready-made bean salad, but to make your own, combine a can each of rinsed, drained black beans, kidney beans and hominy with a jar of spicy tomato salsa and 1/2 cup minced cilantro; season with salt and pepper.

Tips

Flour tortillas are excellent when cooked in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for a minute or two on each side until browned and puffy. Keep them warm wrapped in a kitchen towel placed in a bowl.

If you don't have a microwave oven, the green salsa can easily be cooked, stirred occasionally, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Cumin-Crusted Grilled Pork Chops Over Green Salsa

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: about 13 minutes

Makes 6 servings

six 1/2 -inch-thick boneless pork chops

1 teaspoon salt (divided use)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

freshly ground pepper

5 tomatillos, papery skins removed, rinsed, quartered

1 jalapeno, seeded, quartered

1 small onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon maple syrup or pancake syrup

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat grill to medium-high or heat broiler. Season pork chops with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, cumin and pepper to taste; set aside.

Combine tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, garlic, lime juice, syrup, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 8 to 10 times until mixture is coarsely chopped.

Transfer salsa to a microwave-proof bowl; microwave on high 3 minutes. Remove. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pork chops until no longer pink inside, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Divide salsa among 6 plates; top with pork chops and bean salad.

Per serving: 224 calories; 11 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 67 milligrams cholesterol; 6 grams carbohydrate; 24 grams protein; 439 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber

-- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

Cumin-crusted grilled pork chops over green salsa

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