October 04, 2009

Cocoa-Chile Rubbed Pork Chops

2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon dried pili pili chiles, chopped
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle
1/2 tablespoon smoked sea salt
4 thick cut boneless pork chops

olive oil

Rub the spice rub into both sides of each chop. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Heat a bit of oil in a nonstick pan. Place the chops in the pan. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, then flip each chop and recover to cook for a few more minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook (flipping as needed) until the pork is thoroughly cooked.

My thoughts:
Using cocoa in a dry rub might sound odd at first but trust me, it totally works. Cocoa has earthy flavor that is great with smoky or peppery spices; think mole. Since cocoa is unsweetened, it is a wonderful way to add a chocolate note to a savory dish, especially in a dry rub. This rub seals in the pork's natural juices so even though pork needs to be cooked thoroughly, it stays juicy and flavorful.