Spice Rubbed Pork Loin Chops with a Grilled Onion and Blueberry Relish
By Joan MacIssac
Because of pork’s more delicate and sweeter flavor it tends to pair nicely with fruit, especially when the spice rub on the pork has a touch of heat. For this summer relish the flavors of the intermittent berries against the smokiness of the grilled onions combine to make a well balanced and colorful condiment. Using a berry-infused vinegar would make this condiment even more exceptional.
Makes 4–6 servings.
4 center–cut pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cumin seed
2 tablespoons coriander seed
1 cinnamon stick, about a 2-inch piece
1 teaspoon anise seed
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Salt to taste
For the spice rub:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, anise, cayenne and paprika on a sheet pan and toast the spices for 6 minutes, or until they release their aromas and begin to smoke. Let the spices cool and grind in a spice mill. Combine with the sugar, pepper and salt to taste. This will last for a few weeks on your pantry shelf.
2. Rub the pork chops with the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the spice rub. Set aside to rest for 20–30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat your gas grill on high or alternatively set a bed of coals in your charcoal grill.
4. Grill the pork for 3–4 minutes or until there are good grill marks on the chops. Flip the pork and repeat on the reverse side. Depending on the thickness of the pork chops, a thinner piece would be close to done in 8 minutes. If you have a thicker chop, reduce the heat to low (alternatively moving the pork to a cooler spot on the grill) and continue grilling the chops for 4–5 minutes. Test for doneness by cutting a small slit in the center of the chop and peaking inside. The meat should be opaque to pink in the center with some juices pooling on the top. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before slicing.