Pomegranate Molasses Rib Chops
When we’re talking traditional barbecue, there’s a whole range of barbecue sauces to explore, and grilling techniques to follow, so many that you can’t possibly get to them all, on your deck, in one short Calgary summer. But let me suggest that you could also go a bit further afield than Kansas City or Austin when it comes to sauce and smoke, and try grilling the way folks in other cultures do as well. If you’ve never used pomegranate molasses, for example – something that’s a staple in every Lebanese house – why not give that a try one summer evening? As the nights get hotter, bring home a bit of the Middle East, with Pomegranate Molasses Rib Chops, served with quinoa flavored with slivered almonds, alongside a sweet mache salad garnished with grilled plums, raisins and almonds and dressed with grapefruit balsamic and olive oil.
- 6 rib-end pork chops
- ½ cup Pomegranate Molasses (available at Co-op, Basha Foods, and pretty well any other well-stocked specialty food store)
- Coarse salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp dried cilantro (oregano or tarragon work just fine as well)
- ¾ cup quinoa
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 4 tbsp sliced or slivered almonds, divided
- 1 pkg. washed mache, mixed green, spinach, or arugula salad
- 2 tbsp craisins or raisins
- 3 fresh red or black plums
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp grapefruit (or regular) balsamic vinegar
- Let the pork chops come to room temperature before you start cooking. Rib-end chops work especially well for barbecue because of their nice marbling – lean-cut chops wind up getting too dry for my liking. Pomegranate molasses also goes very well with lamb, if you’d rather have those chops.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt, black pepper, and cilantro, pressing these into the meat.
- Drizzle liberally with pomegranate molasses
- Fire up the barbecue.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, if you want to finish the chops in the oven. (I always do, using a meat thermometer, but there’s no reason not to finish these on the barbecue, if you like. Keep a close eye – the molasses can burn before the meat is done.)
- In a medium-sized saucepan with a lid, bring the chicken stock to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, and cover. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the quinoa cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Watch it, because burned quinoa is completely inedible.
- While the quinoa is cooking, cut the plums in half, and remove the pits.
- Toss the plum halves in olive oil, salt, and pepper, coating them well.
- Put the plums cut-side down on the barbecue.
- Add the chops to the grill, unseasoned side down to start with.
- After about 6 minutes or so, turn the chops over.
- Take the plums off the grill.
- Slice the plum halves into pieces about ¼ -inch thick
- Put the greens into a salad serving dish, and layer the plums on top.
- Add raisins (or craisins), and almonds
- Whisk together the other half of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar to blend well.
- Pour the dressing over the entire salad.
- If you’re finishing the chops in the oven, go get them from the barbecue, and arrange them in a roasting dish. Pour on some more pomegranate molasses to coat them.
- Heat in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fluff the quinoa and almond mixture with a fork.
- Serve the chops, drizzled with a bit of the liquid from the pan.
- Add butter to the quinoa, if you like. Add a healthy serving of salad, and enjoy.