Lee's Kitchen: Caribbean pork chops with sweet potatoes

When I returned home from Pittsburgh after the 18-hour, four-day journey, I was truly exhausted. For the next week, I didn’t cook much, going out to eat twice with friends and making enough egg salad and tuna salad to keep me satisfied.

Mostly I sat on the couch and binged on some television shows, read a couple of novels and perused a few of my new food magazines, wishing I wanted to go to the kitchen and cook.

I, like most of us, thought the snow was behind us. As we know now, it wasn’t. As I looked at recipes for spring vegetables and Swiss chard quiche and miso-glazed young radishes, I wanted something comforting. I visited my big freezer in the garage and saw four beautiful thick pork chops.

In the April issue of Food Network magazine, I found a recipe for Caribbean pork chops. I wasn’t planning on having friends for dinner, but I love pork chop leftovers. I also had most of the ingredients in my kitchen freezer and pantry. All I needed to buy were sweet potatoes, which I always love, and some fresh thyme. This recipe is easy and moist enough for another one or two microwave meals, too.

Caribbean Pork Chops with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

From Food Network magazine, April 2018

 

This recipe calls for ginger beer, which is not always found in supermarkets. I actually love it and always have a couple of bottles in the utility room of my condo. If your supermarket doesn’t have it, maybe the package store does. If you can’t find it, add half a teaspoon of ground ginger to the allspice and add an extra cup of the chicken broth.

 

Yield: serves 4

3 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks

Salt to taste

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick, about 2 pounds

1 teaspoon ground allspice

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil

1 large onion, thickly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup nonalcoholic ginger beer

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 to 2 teaspoons habanero hot sauce, plus more for serving; sriracha or Tabasco sauce will do

3/4 cup canned coconut milk

 

Put sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and add a big pinch of salt.

Bring to a simmer and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add peas and cook until potatoes and peas are soft, about 6 more minutes.

Meanwhile, rub the pork chops with allspice and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-hot heat.

Add pork and cook until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side; remove to the side. Add onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, then the ginger beer and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

Cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in hot sauce.

Drain sweet potatoes and peas, and return to the pot.

Add coconut milk and mash, season with one-half teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Return the pork to the skillet, turning to coat in the sauce. Divide among plates.

Serve with sweet potatoes and more hot sauce.

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