Mexican Spiced Pork Chops With Salsa Verde and Cotija is an attention-grabbing main dish on any dinner table! Simple enough for a weeknight, yet elegant enough for a special meal… You’ve got to try this one!
I need to hire someone to follow me around and knock unhealthy food right out of my hands.
~~ The DO IT Program
So, you love Mexican food right? Me too. 🙂 Chiles, garlic, earthy spices like cumin, fresh limes and juice, and a copious amount of gooey, melting yellow cheese, right? Wrong. Not for this girl! I love those flavors, but I work too hard at watching fats and calories to throw it all away on a plate of gooey enchiladas… Admittedly, I do indulge in a plate of New Mexico Hatch green chile and cheese enchiladas topped with a runny egg (one of life’s guilty pleasures) but rarely. If you love Mexican flavors but tend to avoid Mexican restaurants or even cooking Mexican dishes in your own kitchen, you might be surprised that you can enjoy all the flavor without the fat and calories.
I love thick (1 1/2″) bone-in all natural pork chops for this recipe. It’s simple. Bone-in cuts have more flavor, and more flavor is always a good thing. Get your grill very hot. Mix up the spice rub – ground cumin and chipotle powder, raw sugar, lime zest, minced garlic, and sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle the chops with olive oil, then massage it into the chops. Rub the spice mixture into them. Sear the chops (nice grill marks) about 2 minutes per side. Thick chops will NOT be done in the center. Lower the heat and move them to a cooler part of the grill. Lower the lid, and cook until the chops reach about 135-140°. Allow the chops to rest 10 minutes before serving. This allows the internal temperature to rise another 10 degrees, and the juices to stay with the meat rather than on the plate.
At this point, you will have a very tasty chop. But DON’T STOP NOW. Top this beautiful grilled chop with Roasted Tomatillo and Hatch Green Chile Salsa, a bit of tangy crumbled cotija, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Fight the temptation to break open a bottle of commercially prepared salsa verde okay? Do you really want all that salt, sugar, vegetable oil, calcium chloride, pectin, modified food starch, xanthum gum, guar gum, dextrose, and potassium sorbate. If you’re really lucky you might also get beet powder and canthaxanthin (for color), and sodium benzoate or citric acid (to preserve). 😯 It’s really not that hard to make your own, and the salsa is fresh and contains only healthy ingredients. Bonus: The recipe makes about 4 cups! You can have it the next day on your Lengua Tacos With Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions or Grilled Green Chile Polenta With Citrus Shrimp.
What to pair with this delicious and healthy dish? Beer might be an obvious choice. I’m not a fan of Mexican beers or predictability. I’d be drinking a citrusy IPA like Lagunitas Citrusinensis. If you really want to “pull out all the stops,” try a cocktail. Next week, I’ll bring you 2 simple sides to serve with your Mexican Spiced Pork Chops With Salsa Verde and Cotija… A honey, lime, and chipotle glazed and roasted delicata squash and a fabulous and flavorful cilantro rice. Olé!
Lots of spicy Mexican flavor in a healthy south-of-the-border main dish!
10 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- zest of one lime
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- drizzle of olive oil
- 2 thick center cut bone-in pork chops
- 1/4 cup +/- salsa verde
- crumbled cotija (amount is up to you)
Heat grill to very high heat.
Massage olive oil into the pork chops. Sprinkle the spice rub over the pork chops, and rub it into the meat.
Sear chops (nice grill marks) about 2 minutes per side.
Reduce heat (gas) or move to a cooler section of the grill. Lower the lid.
Continue to cook until internal temperature hits 135 to 140 degrees (medium).
Remove and tent with foil to rest 10 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to about 145 degrees, and the chops maintain their juices.
Top with salsa verde and cotija as desired.
Pour a cold one and enjoy!
Please allow 10 minutes resting time prior to serving. If you want your meat more well done (this is for medium), cook to a higher internal temperature, and allow to rest.