Desperation is the mother of invention- after a long week and a weekend benefit at the tony East Lake Golf Club in Decatur, GA I wasn’t exactly in sharpshooter form this morning. Before coffee, I set out a pack of assorted boneless pork chops to thaw and promptly forgot about them until mid-afternoon. Now, on what passes for a normal day at GreenWood I have at least an idea for dinner by lunchtime- but I’m not as resilient as I once was, and a couple weeks’ worth of 12-hour days take their toll.
So, I found these boneless pork chops in my sink. Thawed, but without purpose. In the middle of the afternoon; actually I didn’t remember them at all… What did I do? Pull another miracle out of my ass? Sort of, in a slacker sort of way: I posted my dilemma on my Facebook page, and friends of Mister C came from far and wide to suggest everything from Asian to Southern comfort food. I was overwhelmed with the possibilities, so I fled to the pantry and unearthed some dried coconut and a bag of almonds. Halfway home, I noticed some black beans, then remembered the bell peppers in the crisper that were in danger of going soft. The brussels’ sprouts were hanging out next to the bell peppers like a third wheel at a nightclub so I invited them along for the ride. Suddenly, I had dinner, and it could still be prepared in an hour. It turned out well, and it was super easy to prepare.
Mister C’s Baked Lemon Rum Port Chops with Toasted Coconut and Almond2 Lbs Boneless Pork Chops or Pork Loin, sliced 1″ thick Lemon Rum Wash
1/2 Cup Spiced Rum 2 Tsp Lemon Zest 1 Lemon, Juiced 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 2 Cups Shredded Coconut, dried or fresh 1/2 Cup Almonds, crushed or sliced Preheat the oven to 350F
This is so easy and quick it’s best to save your cocktail until this dish is in the oven, when you’ll have time to make a couple of quick sides and reward your hard work with a shared aperitif while the oven does all the work.
Add the rum, oil lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until mixed well. Divide the mixture into halves and set aside one half for drizzling, dipping or tossing with a cooked vegetable or salad. Pour the remaining half into a shallow dish and add the pork to marinate or dredge as a wash. While the pork is in the wash, mix the coconut and almonds and dump into another shallow dish or deep plate. Roll the chops in the coconut almond mix, pressing into the meat until the entire chop is coated. Place the chops into an ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the coconut is toasty brown and the meat is at least 140F.
I served this with brussels’ sprouts tossed with the other half of the lemon rum mixture, and sauteed the black beans with the peppers and scallions. It was tasty, easy to prepare and looked great on the plate.