A perfect late summer meal… Citrus-Marinated Pork Chops with Hatch Chile is bursting with south-of-the-border flavor, and comes together mostly on the grill leaving your kitchen nice and cool! AND it’s the last Tuesday of August, and time for Progressive Eats – a virtual progressive dinner with a few of my food blogger pals!
It’s still summer!!! McAllen has had a LONG string of 100°+ days, and while it’s a little hot to be outside tending the grill, it still beats heating up the kitchen.
With the exception of reducing the marinade to toss with the grilled veggies, this meal happens on the grill. You’ll love the vibrant Mexican flavors and the healthy ingredients make it guilt-free!
Citrus and Mexican Cooking
When I think of citrus and Mexican cooking, I think of sour orange (also found in our beloved Peru). Even though I live on the border, I have never seen a sour orange in our markets.
The Yucatán peninsula is known for citrus infused dishes – cochinita pibil (pork cooked in achiote and sour orange), sopa de lima (lime soup), ceviche – and for the healthy eater, the region has so much to offer…
Marinate pork chops (or chicken) in a variety of citrus, achiote, chipotle, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.
Grill the marinated pork chops alongside sweet peppers, Hatch chiles, and sweet onions while reducing the marinade to sauce the veggies.
Making Citrus-Marinated Pork Chops with Hatch Chile
This heart-healthy main dish has 3 components:
The Citrus Marinade
While I cannot get sour oranges, citrus is abundant in McAllen. On photo day, I chose ruby red grapefruit, orange, and lemon for the marinade, and served the plated dish with lime wedges. I aim for about 3/4 cup of juice, and I don’t worry too much about proportions. I don’t add sweetener to the marinade, so I don’t want it over-the-top sour! 😝
In addition to the fresh-squeezed citrus, I add minced garlic, ground achiote (a Yucatán pantry staple), cumin, and ancho or chipotle powder. The red chile powder does add heat, so adjust according to personal preference!
I select thick, lean, boneless chops, but bone-in are fine if that is your preference. I do love the flavor boost provided by bone-in meats, but the convenience of boneless often wins. As always, I aim for about 6 ounces of lean protein per serving.
The Grilled Hatch Chiles, Sweet Bell Pepper, and Sweet Onion
Once upon a time, home cooks outside of southern New Mexico had to settle for frozen Hatch green chile. In recent years, however, the flavorful pods began making appearances in stores from coast to coast in the US. I am not aware that they are available outside the US.
If you can’t get Hatch chile, the Anaheim is a close – albeit milder – cousin (also developed at the New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute). If I need to substitute I usually go for poblano chiles. Look for firm, smooth, unblemished pods, and the flatter the surface, the easier they are to roast.
I round out the vegetable mix with a red, yellow, or orange sweet bell pepper, and a sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc.).
- A crisp rosé is our “go to” summer wine, and it works really well with this summer meal!
- Similarly, a farmhouse ale or saison is perfect for a craft beer lover.
Keep scrolling for more fantastic late summer menu ideas. This talented group of ladies bring lots of creative inspiration to “the table.” 😉Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Late Summer Latin American Cuisine – casual warm weather fare – salads, grilled foods, summer cocktails, and our host is Tamara who blogs at Beyond Mere Sustenance. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!
Late Summer Latin American Cuisine!Cocktails
- Brazilian Caipirinha Cocktail – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Easy Peruvian Pisco Sour Cocktail – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri – From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Steak Adobado Tacos – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Citrus-Marinated Pork Chops with Hatch Chile – Beyond Mere Sustenance
- Quick Mexican Pickled Onions and Carrots – Shockingly Delicious
- Venezuelan-Style Black Beans (Caraotas Negras) – Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Easy Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice – The Heritage Cook
- 3/4 cup zest and juice of mixed citrus (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon achiote powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle or ancho chile powder (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 small boneless pork chops (see notes)
- 2 Hatch green chiles (Anaheim or poblano)
- 1 red, orange, or yellow sweet bell pepper
- 1 large sweet onion, cut in thick slices
- Whisk marinade ingredients together and add to a quart zip bag along with pork chops. Marinate a minimum of 2 hours and up to several or overnight.
- Strain and reserve marinade from pork chops.
- Arrange pork chops and vegetables on a grill over medium-high heat. Char all sides of vegetables and grill pork chops on both sides to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
- If you have a helper, add the reserved marinade to a small saucepan along with 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of honey. Reduce to half. Taste for seasoning.
- When the chops and vegetables come off the grill, tent the chops with foil to rest, and place the chiles and pepper in a pot with a lid (or a paper bag) to steam. (See notes).
- Remove the skins, stems, and seeds from the chiles and pepper, then slice into strips. Separate the onion into rings. Toss with the reduced marinade.
- To serve: Top the grilled pork chop with the vegetables and garnish with a lime wedge as desired.
As I mention in the post, I'm looking to replicate the flavor of a sour orange (kind of). I use a combination of citrus or even whatever I have on hand. On photo day, I used 1/2 ruby red grapefruit, 1 orange, and 1 lemon, and it measured right at 3/4 cup. This will vary, but it doesn't have to be exact!
Chipotle and ancho are pretty spicy. If you are concerned about the heat level, you may want to cut the amount in half the first time.
I almost always reach for the boneless pork chops and trim the fat. I like them as thick as I can get them, and I aim for 6 ounces per serving. You can substitute chicken thighs or chicken breasts, but be sure to adjust cooking time.
See this video for help with the chiles.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394 Total Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 31g Protein: 40g