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Cilantro Pesto and Pork Chops

Cilantro Pesto and Pork Chops

Pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) are commonly used in tomatillo sauces, moles, hot salsas and pozoles because they add a robust and complex flavor and texture.  In this recipe I pair pork chops with a cilantro/pepita pesto.

Let’s get started,




 Serves 4


2 cups cilantro leaves

¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds 1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon lime juice

¼ or more serrano chile , use just enough for a hint of chile-taste

½ cup  extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste


4 medium thickness boneless pork chops

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoons vegetable oil





Combine the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, chile and lime juice in a food blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt.




Over cooking pork chops to achieve a golden and delicious crust can result in dry meat.  The technique and instructions for how to prepare moist pork chops was developed by the food blog – Serious Eats.   Click this website to refer to their recommendations on preparing: pork chops.  The following instructions originated from Serious Eats but slightly modified.


Rinse and pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Combine salt and sugar in a small bowl. Season pork chops generously on all sides with salt/sugar mixture. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 24.


The next day, preheat oven to 250°F. Place baking sheet with pork chops in oven and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 100 to 110°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or 110 to 120°F for medium, about 35 minutes. To prevent overcooking, start checking temperature 5 to 10 minutes before suggested time. Remove from oven.


Heat oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat heat until smoking. Place pork chops in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until starting to brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. each side.  Grip pork chops with tongs, hold them on their sides, and sear the fat caps on the edges until crisp, about a minute. Remove pan from heat, transfer chops to a clean rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.


Just before serving, reheat dripping in pan until smoking. Pour hot drippings over chops. They should sizzle and crisp a bit.


Spread pesto over the chops and cut into thin slices.




Lay a coat of pesto on each dish and place the sliced pork chop over the pesto.

Suggested accompaniment includes a choice of sautéed mushrooms, roasted carrots brussels sprouts, radishes or mashed potatoes.



Buen Provecho

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