Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jerk Pork Chops with Mango Salsa

These pork chops are Jamaican me crave some more Jerk!

My first experience with Jamaica was as an elementary school kid watching Cool Runnings, the story of the Jamaican Bobsled team.  The country portrayed in that movie made me want to go so badly, so when the Mad Scientist told me to pick the destination for our honeymoon, I only considered Jamaica (well, Thailand was briefly in the running but I had concerns about the water and limited vacation time).

Jamaica was everything advertised and more. The Mountains of Jamaica seem to rise directly out of the ocean.  All the foliage is enormous and beautiful.  During our honeymoon, every day we would walk down the mountain to the beach and stop and the Mad Scientist would take about 600 pictures of flowers or insects or goats doing their goat thing (lots of goats in Jamaica, not always tied up either).

The food of Jamaica was actually one of my favorite parts of the vacation although the Mad Scientist and I only ate out a few times while we were there.  On the first day of our vacation, we wandered into a Supermarket and I was fascinated by all the ingredients, so much so that we actually bought several days worth of groceries and cooked at home.

One of the foods we bought we thought was Jicama, but when we ate it raw it made our mouths all buzzy and weird feeling, so we started frying that in coconut oil and it was delicious.  It may have just been a really large sweet potato.

However, when we did go out to eat, we stopped at a barefoot Jerk meat stand, and ate the traditional barbecue with Red Stripe beer while listening to blasting Reggae (when in Jamaica). Jerk is a fusion of Indian, Carribean, African and Chinese influences and delicious.

This spice rub mimics some of the best flavors that we had while in Jamaica (cooking in coconut oil is an added bonus if you have it).  It is slightly sweet, but has a hot kick.  The hand rubbed pork chops are finger-licking good and have that addictive sweet and spicy combination combined with juicy, mildly smoky, seared bone-in pork chop. The mango salsa is the perfect complement (although not the most traditional).  The chuncky salsa actually plays the role that a chutney plays in Indian cuisine (cools the palate but it makes you crave more spice).  Depending on how much of a chili head you are, you can choose to up the Jalapeno amount to meet your own preferences.

Do you need an island vacation? This meal will transport you to the Carribean, but don't forget the Red Stripe (or the Dragon Stout which is the best beer that we discovered in Jamaica).

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Jerk Pork Chops
This spice rub yields perfectly craveable sweet and spicy qualities of traditional Jamaican Cuisine.
  • 4 Bone In Pork Chops
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves Torn into tiny pieces
  • 2 Teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1. Mix all spices and brown sugar together.2. Thoroughly coat and rub thawed pork with spice rub.3. Store in Fridge for at least 8 hours (up to 48 hours)4. Heat oil (coconut oil is best) in a large skillet to medium heat. Cook pork chops 6 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Pork Chops

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Mango Salsa
This mango salsa is perfect for serving over meat or on its own
  • 1 Mango Finely Diced
  • 2 Cups Pineapple Diced into small Chuncks
  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno- deveined and seeded, finely diced
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1. Combine all ingredients2. Allow ingredients to meld with each other for at least 30 minutes or up to three days.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 Cups

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