Crispy Baked Pork Chops With Pepper Medley
Any day is a good day for a pork chop according to my husband! For quite a few years on special occasions we enjoyed going to dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants named “J-Michaels.” They served this dish that they called “Chi Chi Bella.” You had a choice of chicken or pork and it was breaded and topped with a mix of spicy and sweet peppers. About a year ago, my friend told us that the restaurant had closed and we were very disappointed to hear this news. So, one day last week I told my husband that I was going to try to prepare my version of pork chi chi bella with a few Mexican flavors, of course. I had these beautiful, big pork chops that were just perfect and instead of frying them, I decided to bake them. We really enjoyed this dish, and I am looking forward to making the chicken version.
Yields 4 servings
For the chops:
4 pork chops, these were bone-in chops (8 to 10 ounces each)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coarse lemon pepper seasoning (low sodium)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (I used Tapatio brand)
1 1/3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cotija or Parmesan cheese, grated
For the Peppers:
1 large poblano pepper, sliced into strips
1 Anaheim pepper, sliced into strips
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced into rings
1 small red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 small green bell pepper, sliced into strips
6 pickled cherry peppers, sliced into rings or half-moon shapes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brine from cherry peppers
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
You Will Also Need:
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil paper.
2. Set up breading station: Works best with 3 shallow dishes. Dish one, add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lemon pepper seasoning. Dish two, add the eggs and hot sauce, lightly beaten. Dish three, add the bread crumbs, cilantro, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and grated cheese. Stir well to combine.
3. Drizzle the lined pan with olive oil, set aside. Dredge the pork chops in flour mixture, dip into egg wash, then coat evenly with bread crumb mixture. Transfer the chops to the prepared pan. Drizzle a little more olive oil to the tops of pork chops. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. While pork chops are baking, in a large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for 2 minutes. Add all of the peppers and lightly season them with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the vinegar, brine from peppers and oregano. Cook for another 2 minutes, taste for salt. Remove from heat and cover lightly.
5. After 20 minutes, turn pork chops over and bake for another 14 to 17 minutes. Turn broiler on high and cook for an additional 2 minutes for extra crispy coating. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with pepper medley, garnish with cilantro, queso fresco and lime wedges.
Note: I served the pork chops over a bed of fideo pasta.