If ever there was a spice I have learned to hate, it’s cumin. Does everyone have that one spice that they just can’t get behind no matter what the rest of the cooking world might argue? No matter how little I use in a recipe (and I generally reduce the amount required by fifty percent, if not more), it ends up overwhleming my palette in nearly every bite.
It leaps out from the rest of the ingredients and does laps around the back of my teeth so I feel like I’m tasting it for days. If it wasn’t for my OCD, I’d throw out what’s left in my cupboard and be done with the stuff forever, but knowing there is purchased spice lying unused in a trash basket would keep me up at night. So cumin gets a reprieve… for the time being.
My dislike of the stuff led me a few weeks back to Google “I hate cumin” and see what would come up. Turns out I’m far from alone. Here are some of the web highlights:
- “I hate cumin. I can’t even stand the smell.”
- “I…..don’t…..really….like…..cumin. Rephrase. I…..hate…..cumin. It smells like wet dog to me!”
- “…no cumin (I hate cumin)”
- “I hate cumin and restaurants that try to sneak it into perfectly lovely things like veal piccata.”
- “cumin sucks men of their life forces”
- “cumin smells like feet, unless im thinkin of somethin else, but im pretty sure that crap is cumin”
Nice to know there are others. Even nicer was discovering amidst the web results, a link to the wonderful Seriously Delicious, hosted by the talented “Her Chefness,” a video game tester in Washington. “Her Chefness” has apparently gone through some sort of cumin-haters deprogramming therapy, and this recipe seems to have had something to do with it. It had been lingering in my consciousness for weeks after reading it, and I finally found time to get to the store and pick up the boneless pork loin chops, something I haven’t eaten in probably 20 years. The meal was delicious. MG loved it even more than I did. It’s also simple to make, easy to clean up after, and, of course, fun to photograph.
Pan-Fried Porkchips in Cumin Tomato Sauce
2 boneless pork loin chops, about 1″ thick
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked cannellinni beans
3 stalks celery, chopped
35 tsp. ground cumin (just kidding – 1 tsp. cumin)
1 can (15oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Season your chops with salt and pepper and place in a heated pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook between 4 and 5 minutes on either side, until they’re well-browned. Take them out of the pan and wrap them in aluminum foil or set in the oven to keep warm.
Add your onions and garlic to the pan and heat until the onions start to brown and soften. Stir religiously.
Then add in the celery and the dreaded cumin and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes (the original recipe called for about 2 tablespoons of lime juice, but that didn’t sit well with me). Stir until fully combined.
Add pork back into pan and cover with sauce. Add beans and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until chops are cooked through. I added roasted Brussels sprouts and a little garlic bread, suggestion courtesy of Her Chefness’ photos. I really don’t think this recipe required the cumin at all, and next time I make it, cumin will not be invited to the party.