In memory of all the gardens across our great country that are beginning to wither and succumbing to the cooler temperatures, these chops are for you. This is a recipe that you will find in almost every Puerto Rican cookbook, but it is a dish that is under appreciated. I think it is becaue when you look at it, it doesn’t “look” like a Latin or Puerto Rican dish. It doesn’t fall within the stereotype of rice, beans and plantains.
I can sympathis with this dish, in a way we are kindered spirts, because I too do not meet the Puerto Rican “stereotype”. At 5′ 8″, with green eyes, fair skin and straight as a board hair, people don’t seem to believe me when I say I am Puerto Rican. Then to top it off I don’t even have an accent. In high school I felt like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput sometimes, since all my girlfriends were no taller then 5′ 5″.
A lot of the recipes I found online for this dish called for canned mixed vegetables. I do not like most canned vegetables, especially green beans, carrots and peas, they are just too briney for my taste. If you are in a bind and must use canned I suppose that is ok, but if you can get fresh it is so much better. The green beans and corn maintain that fresh crispness and sweetness that you can’t get from the canned variety. The pork chops were very tender and the sauce has a great savory sweetness. I served these chops with some yellow rice and it was fan-tabulous!
I am sad that I didn’t grow up eating more of these pork chops. I don’t really remember my mother making them…ever. I am sure she did at one time or another but I have no memory of it. I would ask her but she is in the middle of the Mediterranean with my aunt right now. Don’t worry she’s not floating out there aimlessly, she is on a 12 day cruise. I wish I was on a 12 day cruise of the Mediterranean…Punk!
Chuletas a La Jardinera (Garden Pork Chops)
- 6 Pork Chops, Center Cut, Bone-in
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 Tbs vinegar
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/2 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed and chopped
- 1 large ear of corn, shucked
Rinse and clean pork chops. Dry with paper towels and set aside.
Combine garlic, oregano, salt, olive oil and vinegar in a mortar and pestle. Mash until well combined. Pour garlic mixture over pork chops and toss until all chops are well coated on both sides.
Heat a heavy deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the chops.
After the chops have been browned, place all the chops back into the skillet. Pour tomatoes with their juices and onions over the top. Bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes. Add carrots and cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Add corn and green beans and cook covered for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook, uncovered, for a final 10 minutes.
Serve pork chops hot with vegetables over top.