Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mojo Brined Pork Chops & Caribbean Rice, oh and RUM!

A couple of years ago, Jason and I went to Jamaica.  We stayed at Sandals Negril, just the two of us.  And we became quite enamored with Appleton Rum, which is Jamaican rum. On a cruise a few years ago, we sampled rum made in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Barbados; and of course we've had the American staple- Bacardi, which is Puerto Rican rum.  But for our money, there is nothing like the Appleton :)

Jason and I both love to cook.  We usually select a menu during the week and I get all of the ingredients before the weekend, so we capitalize on the family time :)  When we picked this weekend's menu ~ Mojo Brined Pork Chops and Caribbean Rice & Beans for Saturday and Coconut-Pineapple Chicken Kabobs with Coconut-Pineapple rice for Sunday ~ we knew it would be a great weekend for Appleton!

Mojo Brined Pork Chops

For the brine:
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c kosher salt
2 c hot water
4 c ice
juice and rind from 2 oranges and 1 lime
4 bone-in pork chops

For the rub:
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pepper flakes

For the salsa:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 Braeburn apple, cored and sliced
2 plantains, peeled and sliced
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 small can mandarin oranges

Dissolve sugar and salt in hot water.  Stir in ice and citrus juices and rinds.  Submerge chops and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  remove chops from brine; pat dry.

Combine spices for rub.  Coat both sides of chops.  Grill chops, covered until an internal temp of 145 (about 3-5 min on each side).  Allow to rest 5 minutes.

Melt butter with olive oil in large saute pan over med heat.  Add apple and plantain.  Saute 2-3 minutes.  Deglaze pan with vinegar and sugar.  Simmer 3-4 minutes, stirring in orange segments.

Serve over grilled chops :)

Caribbean Rice and Beans

1 c. converted white rice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1/4 c low sodium chicken broth
sliced scallions

Cook rice according to directions.

Saute garlic, cumin & cayenne in oil over med. heat for i minute.  Stir in beans and broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook 4-5 minutes.

To serve, top rice with beans and garnish with scallions.

(I forgot the scallions :(  I always forget the garnish.)