Based on Lynne Rossetto Kasper's improvisation of a classic combination she learned from Ron Bechtol, a gifted cook who divides his time between San Antonio and Mexico. Recalling the Mexican stew using the same flavors, I was instantly drawn to this recipe. Below is my rendition.
- 2 large dried ancho chiles
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 1 large orange, zest of
- 1 large orange, peeled and sectioned without the membrane
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 1⁄3 cup fat free chicken broth
- 4 boneless center cut pork chops, trimmed
- vegetable oil
- To prepare marinade, begin by first toasting the chiles in a hot skillet for a minute or so until they begin to emit a peppery fragrance. Cast iron works best.
- Remove tops from peppers and split into 2 or 3 large pieces. If you want a milder sauce, discard the seeds. Place the pieces in a cup of boiling water for 20 minutes to soften.
- Loosely drain water and place chiles in a blender with the garlic, salt, pepper, brown sugar, orange zest, orange segments, orange juice concentrate, and broth. Blend into a pureé.
- Place the marinade in a resealable bag or container. Add the chops and marinade in the ice box for 8 to 24 hours. Longer really is better.
- To prepare the chops, remove chops from marinade and lightly pat dry. Reserve marinade for the sauce.
- Heat skillet until hot but not smoking. Add a little oil to coat the pan. Cook pork chops for 1 to 2 minutes on each side to get a nice brown sear. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the resrved marinade. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the chops are tender.
- Remove chops from pan and place on plate and tent to keep hot. If you would like a thicker more intensely flavored sauce, reduce heat a small amount and cook down for a few minutes.