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Annatto-Rubbed Pork Chops with Salsa

serves 2-4

Annatto are small seeds with flavors reminiscent of pepper and saffron. If you can't find annato, substitute a teaspoon of paprika. Cojita is a crumbly Mexican cheese. If you can't find it, try feta instead.

Read more about this recipe at Cook and Eat.


2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons annatto
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 pork chops

A splash of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (from above)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 small Thai peppers (or other hot pepper), chopped and seeded
5 small red and yellow sweet peppers, chopped & seeded
5 small tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

cojita cheese, for topping


prep: 25 minutes
total: 1 hour 15 minutes, includes time to marinate


small skillet
heavy skillet


1. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small skillet over high heat. They will start to pop and brown. Remove from heat. reserve Grind with a mortar and pestle. Reserve 1/2 teaspoon for the salsa, and leave the rest of the cumin in the mortar, and add the annatto seeds, and pound until they are ground. This may take a little while.

2. In a shallow dish, add the annatto/cumin mixture and the salt and mix. Add the lime juice and mix. If the pork chops are particularly lean, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture. Drench the pork chops in the mixture on both sides. Shake a bit more salt on for good measure. Wrap them up, and let them sit for about an hour. This is a good time to make the salsa.

3. In a small skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, shallot, onion, rosemary, cumin and Thai chilies and saute just until the onions start to get a little translucent, about a minute or two. Remove from heat, and transfer to a small bowl. Add the sweet peppers, tomatoes and lime juice. Season to taste. Allow it to sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

4. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes. Once hot, toss in the chops and cook on one side for 1 minute. Flip and repeat on the other side. Reduce heat to medium, flip back over and cook another 5 minutes, or until the center is no longer pink. Don’t over cook them or they will be dry and tough! Top with salsa, grate a little cojita on the top and serve.

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