Harissa-cured Boar Chops and Smoked Tomato Cous Cous
Boar (or pork) chops are marinated in a spicy brew of southwestern ingredients and pan-seared, then finished in the oven. The smoked tomato cous cous that accompanies them is served inside bands of calamata crackers. Kevin Rathbun’s harissa marinade is spiced by 6 arbol chilies; if you prefer it a little less spicy, add fewer peppers. The marinade works well with steaks, chicken, shrimp, and lamb as well as pork.
- Harissa-cured Boar Chops
- Olive Oil - 3/4 cups
- Arbol Chilies - 6
- Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
- Cumin Seeds - 2 tablespoons
- Garlic Cloves - 6
- Tomato - 1 small, seeded and diced
- Basil leaves - 6, chopped
- Coarse salt - 2 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Boar Chops - 8 double-cut (alt.pork chops)
- Vegetable Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Smoked Tomato Cous Cous
- Rosemary - 1 sprig
- Basil leaves - 6
- Onion - 1 large, diced
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Roma Tomatoes - 2 smoked
- Tomato paste - 1/2 cup
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Butter - 1/2 cup
- Goat Cheese - 3 ounces
- Cous Cous - 1-1/2 pounds
- Calamata-Cornmeal Crackers
- Cornmeal - 1 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 2-1/2 cups
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Baking Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter - 4-1/2 ounces, cut into pieces
- Buttermilk - 1-1/4 cups
- Calamata olives - 3/4 cup, roughly chopped
- Flat-leaf Parsley - 1 sprig, stemmed and chopped
- Toasted Cumin Sauce
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Garlic Cloves - 3 – 4, roasted
- Shallots - 6 – 8 whole, roasted
- Sambuca - 1 tablespoon(alt.other licorice-flavored liqueur)
- Rich Pork Stock (see Basics) - 2 cups
- Cumin - 2 tablespoons
- Thyme - 1 tablespoon, fresh, minced
- Flat-leaf Parsley Leaves - 2, minced
- Bean sprouts - 2 cups (alt. and/or edible flowers)
- Flat-leaf Parsley - 4 sprigs
To marinate the chops: In a small skillet heat the oil over medium heat and add the arbol chilies, coriander, cumin, and garlic. Toast all ingredients for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing to keep them from burning. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and add the tomato dice, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Process until smooth. Place the chops in a glass baking dish or similar non-reactive container and pour the marinade over the chops, lifting them to let the marinade run underneath. Marinate for 1 hour.
To make the cous cous: Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprig and chop them with the basil leaves; set aside. In a large sauce pot combine the onion, garlic, tomato, and tomato paste and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, add the butter, and process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Place the cous cous in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot liquid over it. Add the herbs and goat cheese and toss to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
To make the crackers: Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attachment, or in a large bowl. Slowly blend in the butter until the mixture resembles pea-sized meal, then increase the speed of the machine and add the buttermilk, olives, and parsley. Process or stir until the dough is soft and pliable. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the dough is relaxed.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with silicone liner or parchment paper. Roll out the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut into 2-inch squares. i Roll out the squares with a little more flour until the dough is a paper-thin rectangle measuring 4 inches by 8 inches. Roll the rectangles around 2-inch copper tubing or ring molds to form open cylinders, pressing the seam to seal, and place on the baking sheet. Bake 16 – 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
To make the sauce: In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic and shallots until translucent, 30 – 45 seconds; shake the pan to keep them from sticking. Pour in the Sambuca and stir up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the stock, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until it reduced by one third in volume. Add the cumin, thyme, and parsley.
To complete the dish: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chops for 1 minute on each side. Place in the oven and cook for 4 to 5 minutes for medium.
To serve: Strew sprouts on the serving plates. Fill the cracker sleeves with cous cous and place on the sprouts. Lean two chops against the cracker on each plate. Warm the sauce and ladle it around the plate. Garnish with sprouts or edible flowers.