Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Polenta and Black Beans

Spice Rubber Pork Chops with Creamy Parmesan Polenta and Black Beans
adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

For Black Beans:
1/2 lb. black beans
1 Goya Sazon packet
For Spice Rubbed Pork Chops:
4, 3/4″ pork chops (can be with/without bones)
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

For Creamy Parmesan Polenta:
6 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups coarse, stone-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

For serving:
lime wedges
sour cream
steamed veggies


For Black Beans:
On a flat surface, such as a white plate, sort black beans to check for rocks. Add to a medium pot and cover with water–maybe by 2″. (You will probably have to add more water at some point.) Bring the beans to a hard boil and boil for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and let beans sit for one hour.

After one hour, turn the heat back on and bring to a simmer. Add more water to cover the beans. Add salt to taste–maybe 1 to 2 tsp and the Goya seasoning. Contine simmering the beans until they are tender. This can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

For Spice Rubbed Pork Chops:
Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan over a medium-high heat until they become fragrant. Transfer to spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds. Place in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, add salt and pepper and olive oil. Mix together to form a paste.

Heat a large, 12″ skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. (Nonstick or cast iron works the best.)

While the pan is heating, trim fat from pork chops and pat pork dry with paper towels. Rub top, bottom, and sides of pork with the spice paste and transfer to the hot skillet. Cook each side, adjusting heat if necessary, for about 4 minutes on each side–careful not to burn, just brown. Using an instant read thermometer, check to make sure the pork is at least 160 degrees, or cut a slit in the pork if you don’t have a thermometer. The juices should run clear. Transfer to a plate to rest for a few minutes before serving.

For Creamy Parmesan Polenta:

Prepare an 8″ by 11″ or 9″ by 13″ baking dish by either buttering or spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

Bring water to a hard boil in a large pot–I use a stockpot. Add salt.

While whisking, slowly pour cornmeal into the boiling water. Continue whisking until it comes to a rolling boil. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir continually. The mixture will slowly thicken to a porridge, but will be done when the bubbles in the center of the pot are very large and the polenta starts to come away from the sides of the pan. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add butter and parmesan cheese and stir well. Pour into prepared pan and set aside until the polenta sets up. (You can serve it soft, which is also delicious.) Slice the polenta into squares and serve. (The next morning, we often fry slices of polenta in a little oil in a skillet, and serve with a poached egg, or maple syrup.)

**Two things about polenta:
1) Make sure you stir constantly. This will prevent lumps.
2) Most important–Be very, very careful while you stir. Those bubbles get pretty big and when they burst, the hot polenta can splash and really burn you. I have quite a few scars. Wear really good and long oven mits to protect yourself.

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