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Chuletas De Puerco Criollas (Cuban-Style Pork Chops)

Pork chops marinate in citrus and garlic, then bask over heat in a shallow pool of olive oil and sherry in this classic preparation from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman and Joan Schwartz (John Wiley & Sons). The original recipe calls for eight thin pork chops and more than 20 minutes' cooking time, but thicker cuts and a shorter cooking time result in juicier chops. Serve with rice, moros y cristianos and/or fufu (recipe below).

Chuletas De Puerco Criollas (Cuban-Style Pork Chops)
Carol Guensburg for NPR /

Makes 4 servings

4 thick center-cut pork chops, each about 3/4- to 1-inch thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup sour (Seville) orange juice or 1/4 cup sweet orange juice mixed with 1/8 cup each fresh lime and lemon juice

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup dry sherry

Season the chops with salt and pepper. With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, oregano and cumin together into a paste. Rub the chops with the garlic paste, place in a nonreactive bowl, pour the orange juice over, and cover with the sliced onions. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the chops from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and reserve the marinade. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until fragrant, then brown the chops on both sides. Reduce heat and add the sherry and reserved marinade, including the onions. Cover and cook until the chops are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. The chops should reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

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