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Smoky Southwestern Veal Chops

Smoky Southwestern Veal Chops
Chipotle chilies, which are dried smoked jalapeños, have an almost chocolaty taste. In this dish, the chipotle imparts its unique character to veal chops before they are smeared with a hot seasoning paste. Hulled green pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are sold in Mexican markets and health-food stores.

Ingredients:

  • 6 loin veal chops, each 6 to 7 oz. and 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat and edges scored
  • 2 chipotle chilies
  • About 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 dried arbol chili
  • 1 dried Anaheim chili
  • 1 ancho chili
  • 1 tsp. plus a pinch of coarse salt
  • About 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, tough stems removed
     and leaves chopped
  • 1/3 cup veal or chicken stock, warmed
  • 1 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Place the veal chops and chipotle chilies in a storage container or large sealable plastic bag. Pour in enough milk just to cover the meat. Cover the container or seal the bag securely. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or for up to 24 hours. Discard the milk and chilies, rinse the chops and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Using metal tongs, pass the arbol, Anaheim and ancho chilies, one at a time, over a flame on a gas stove to toast briefly, being careful not to blacken them. If using an electric stove, place the chilies, one at a time, in a nonstick fry pan over medium heat and toast quickly until aromatic, about 1 minute. Using a mortar and pestle, grind together all the toasted chilies with 1 tsp. coarse salt until coarsely crushed. Rub the mixture onto both sides of each chop and set aside.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Brown the chops, turning once, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Transfer the onion mixture to a baking dish large enough to hold the chops in a single layer. Place the chops, along with any accumulated juices, on the onions and pour the stock around the meat. Roast until the chops are tender and the juices run clear, 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a small, dry fry pan over high heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds with a pinch of salt, shaking the pan constantly, until the seeds are lightly browned on the edges and begin to make a popping sound, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the seeds to paper towels and set aside.

When the chops are ready, transfer them and the onions to a warmed platter. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Everyday Roasting, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1998).