Simple Grill Talk – Cuban Pork Chops

A very tasty Cuban marinade – serves four. 

cuban pork chops

CUBAN CUISINE contains African, Spanish, Italian and Caribbean elements.  The Cubans don’t follow any rules when cooking – the mixture of all possible tastes, smells and colors usually help to create little works of art.  Cuba does not have a great reputation for their food – at least for tourists.  I’ve been to Havana and found this to be true.  Their rum however is second to none and if you stick with drinking mojitos all day long you may not even mind how bad the food tastes.  The truth is if you’re lucky enough to be invited into a local home for a home cooked meal or go to one of the handful of local insider restaurants which happen to not be in the very touristy areas, you will be  pleasantly surprised. Together with the wonderful herbs and spices from the region – for example, chilli, oregano, onions, garlic, parsley, saffron, basil, etc. – there are no limits to the varied dishes.  Here is a simple and delicious marinade.

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) each frozen orange juice concentrate (somewhat defrosted), ketchup and molasses.  (I used spicy ketchup from the Mcilhenny Co. brand that makes Tobasco).

1 tsp (5 ml) each ground cumin and dried oregano leaves

¼ tsp (1 ml.) cayenne pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lime

1 Tbsp (15 ml) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

4 centre-cut pork loin chops, each about ½ inch (1 cm) thickl

¼ cup (50 ml) coarsely chopped cilantro

In a bowl, stir concentrate with ketchup, molasses, dried seasonings and garlic.

Squeeze in juice from lime, then stir in oil.

Pour three-quarters of the marinade over chops and turn to evenly coat. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour but best overnight.  Turn occasionally.

Refrigerate reserved marinade in a separate container.

Preheat barbeque, then adjust to medium heat.  Remove chops from marinade and discard marinade.  Place on grill.  Close lid and grill, about 12 to 15 minutes, turning once.

Brush with reserved marinade during the last five minutes of cooking time.  Remove to platter and sprinkle with cilantro.

Per Serving: 237 calories

Sides: I served this with cooked quinoa (in a vegetable broth) which was then mixed into a pan with caramelized onions, shallots, red pepper, green beans & cuban black beans.

Sweet yellow corn on the cob with cilantro/chili/lime butter & sea salt.