Valentine's Day Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Chops With Cherry Sauce
2 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
4 Bone-in pork chops, 1 1/2-inch thick
1 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tsp Light brown sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 or 2 Shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 lb Cherries, stemmed and pitted (Can use frozen, just thaw beforehand),
1/2 cup Chicken stock
2 tbsp Unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pull the pork chops out about 20 minutes before cooking to sit at room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, cinnamon, coriander, thyme, light brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and rub the cocoa mixture over the pork chops.

Heat a large cast iron skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, 3 minutes or so per side. Remove to a plate.

Leaving a few teaspoons of oil in the pan, drain any excess and add the butter. Add the shallot, thyme and cherries and allow to cook 3 to 4 minutes until the shallot softens and the cherries just start to burst. Season with salt and pepper.

Deglaze the pan by pouring in the chicken stock. Place the pork chops on top of the cherries.

Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, another 10 to 16 minutes or until the pork chops reach 145 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

Serve the pork chops with the cherry sauce on top.

4

What is a romantic Valentine's Day meal without chocolate and some good fruit? These cocoa-rubbed pork chops are seared to perfection before a homemade cherry sauce comes together with butter and thyme. Serve for your significant other for a meal that will really set the mood for the night.

Prep time: 15 minutes