Friday, March 16, 2012

Búsqueda de los Cerdos

A few years back, my beautiful Angel, Clare, and I bought a framed picture at the Bethesda Arts Festival.  We go to the festival every year and, inevitably, we purchase a picture or two of art.  That year, Clare stopped at the stall of Josh Axelrod.  Josh is a great photographer, who believes that "magic is everywhere" and whose goal is to seek out "the poetry of the landscape."

Clare focused on one of Josh's photographs.  The picture, which was shown to the left, is entitled "In Pursuit of Trouble."  The picture depicted three little pigs walking outside of what looks like an old building.  Clare immediately thought of me and my love of cooking with pork (and eating bacon).  Thinking that this would be a picture that I would be interested in buying, Clare went looking for me and brought me to Josh's stall.  

Josh explained that he took the picture during a trip to Peru.  He was walking through a small town when he came across those three little pigs.  The pigs were strutting around like they owned the place, conspiring to stir up some trouble.  Josh stopped, pulled out his camera, and took the picture.  And, we bought that picture.  It currently hangs in our kitchen, where I can look at it whenever I cook.

Recently, I was looking at the picture and its story motivated me motivated me to make a dish inspired by Peru.  I purchased a couple of Duroc pork chops and went to work thinking of a rub that draws from Peruvian flavors.  I decided to use a couple Aji Limo Rojo peppers, which are very hot chiles from Peru, along with adobo, onion, and other spices.  I made a simple rub and then placed the pork chops under the broiler.  Alternatively, the pork chops could be grilled under medium high heat (about 375 to 400 degrees).

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
2 Aji Limo Rojo peppers
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of adobo powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of paprika

1.  Make the rub. Grind the Aji Limo peppers and the peppercorns.  In a small bowl, add the pepper with the onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, adobo and paprika.  Mix well.  Apply the rub on all sides of the pork chops. 

2.  Cook the pork chops.  Preheat the broiler.  Place the pork chops under the broiler and cook for about fifteen minutes.  Flip and cook for fifteen minutes more or until done.  Remove and let the pork chops sit for about ten minutes.  

3.  Plate the dish.  Slice the pork chops and serve with rice.


The Aji Limo Rojo peppers are very spicy.  The peppers have Scoville Heat Units that range from 50,000 to 60,000.  This is as much as one hundred times hotter than a poblano pepper,  six to seven times hotter than a jalapeno pepper and up to five times hotter than a serrano pepper.  This heat is most likely too much for any wine.  The best pairing for this dish is a beer.  The best beer is perhaps one that is somewhat fruity (like a white wine) and a little heavier in alcohol (to help one forget about the burn of the chiles).  I think the following beer would pair well with this dish:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company -- Ovila Quadrupel
Belgian Trappist-Style Quadrupel 
California, USA.
Flavors of banana, malt, Belgian yeast.


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