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Orange pork chops with pilaf

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The flavor and fragrance of oranges is one of the most enticing on earth. It shouldn't be relegated only to furniture polish, wood restorers or flea repellants (which cats hate, by the way.) The orange looks, smells and tastes like sunshine, which is a welcome thing on a gloomy winter day.

The sweetness and slight tartness of orange zest and juice bring out the savory flavor of pork chops in this easy to make one-pot meal. The rice and noodle mixture are gently seasoned with zest, fruit, a little onion and black pepper. Braised pork chops stay tender and moist, being infused gently with orange flavor as the mixture simmers.

The following recipe was developed by the Sunkist growers.

Orange pork chops

6 pork chops, medium cut
2 tbsp. olive oil
zest of 1/2 orange
1/3 c. chopped onion
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 c. uncooked rice
1/2 c. thin egg noodles, broken into pieces
2 whole oranges, peeled and separated into segments

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Brown pork chops on both sides; remove and set aside.

Pour off excess grease; add orange zest and onion. Heat until flavor and fragrance are released. Add 1/4 c. of the chicken broth; use a wooden spoon to stir the brown bits (fond) on the skillet bottom into the broth. Add the remaining broth, rice, noodles, pepper and pork chops. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pork chops are cooked through.

Remove pork chops; add orange segments to pilaf mixture, stir and heat. Serves 6.

Tips:

  • Zest the entire peel of the oranges you use and save the remainder in a freezer-safe zipper bag. Orange zest can be frozen and used in nut breads, muffins, cranberry sauce, frostings, etc.
  • The recipe calls for egg noodles, but pad thai rice noodles can be substituted.

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