Persian-Spiced Pork Chops
Craig Meili, the farmer at Meili Farm, raises hogs that yield the most delicious pork in New York’s Hudson Valley, says Serge Madikians, the chef/owner of Serevan restaurant, which is only three miles west of the farm. An Armenian who was born in Tehran, Chef Madikians says that Persian flavors are very present in his mind and on his palate. At his restaurant, however, he prepares foods that are not normally part of Persian cuisine. This recipe is a good example since pork is not halal (accepted as fit for eating) in Muslim countries. The delicate but full-flavored pork from Meili Farm takes well to the spice rub, which includes dried rose buds. They can be found in the spice section of most Middle Eastern grocery stores, or you can order them online.
For the rub:
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 whole allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. aniseed
- 1 Tbs. dried rose buds
- 1 Tbs. coarse sea salt
- 1 Tbs. sumac
For the quick marinade:
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) apple cider
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (6 oz./185 g) honey
- Grated zest of 1/4 lemon
- Grated zest of 1/4 orange
6 bone-in pork loin chops, each about 10 oz. and 1 inch thick
- Dried rose buds for garnish
To make the rub, using a mortar and pestle, grind together the cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick, aniseed, rose buds, salt and sumac. Alternatively, using an electric spice grinder, grind together the cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick and aniseed, then add the rose petals, salt and sumac and pulse a few times. You should have a coarse mixture, not a powder.
To make the quick marinade, in a bowl, whisk together the apple cider, vinegar, honey and lemon and orange zests. The marinade can be made a day in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare a hot fire in a grill.
Meanwhile, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle on both sides with some of the rub mixture, using your fingers to press it into the meat. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Just before grilling the chops, moisten each one in the marinade (the idea is to allow the sweet and acidic marinade to flavor the chops).
Arrange the chops on the grill and cook, turning several times, until nicely charred, 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking. Flipping the chops regularly helps ensure even distribution of the heat and an even char all around.
Transfer the chops to a platter, sprinkle with the remaining rub and garnish with rose buds. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from a recipe by Serge Madikians, Chef/Owner, Serevan, Amenia, NY