Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grilled Pork and Roasted Sweet Potatoes: One Spice Rub Two Ways

Getting creative with spices can be tricky if you're not sure what goes with what. Fortunately there are a lot of great spice blends out there. But you have to be careful since some our mostly salt with a few other things thrown into the mix. By making your own spice blends you can control the salt content as well as all of the other flavors based on your own tastes. Some mild spice blends could use some extra heat while others are too spicy for certain dishes. I highly recommend getting a spice grinder. Not only can you make your own spice blends but you can chop up nuts as well. Freshly ground spices are a lot more pungent and, well, fresh tasting than the ground spices you buy at the store. Don't get me wrong, ground spices are great and definitely work well for most things. But if you have a spice grinder, your options for combining flavors are pretty much endless.
If you don't have a spice grinder, the spices for this meal can all be purchased pre-ground and will still taste wonderful together. The blend is based loosely off a recipe I found on Epicurious for roasted sweet potatoes. I decided to make the sweet potatoes and use the remaining spice mix on pork chops. Sweet potatoes and pork taste so different on their own that using the same spice mix only serves to bring the meal together without making everything taste the same. By cooking some pears in with the pork, you can create a sweet sauce to go over the pork in only a few minutes. 
Spice Rubbed Pork and Sweet Potatoes (serves 4)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound thin-cut boneless pork chops, about 4 chops
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into wedges (about 3 cups)
  • 1 pear, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a spice grinder, combine first six ingredients.
In a roasting pan or cookie sheet, toss together sweet potato wedges, 1 tbsp olive oil, and about 1 tbsp of spice mixture.
Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Season both sides of each pork chop with the remaining spice mixture.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Place each pork chop in the pan along with the chopped pear and cook, without moving, for about 4-5 minutes to brown.
Flip pork chops over and finish cooking for about another 5 minutes for 1/2 inch pork chops, longer if they are thicker. Cook to about 140F.
Leave pears in the pan and deglaze with white wine. Deglazing picks up the cooked spices from the bottom of the pan and combines them into the sauce.
Stir in honey and let reduce for about 5 more minutes.
Serve pear sauce over grilled pork.

For a printable recipe click here

Spiced Rubbed Pork and Sweet Potatoes

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