Roast pork chops are always a welcome addition to the dinner table, these beauties come with a harissa coating and a delicious pearl couscous side dish.
Roast pork chops are a regular occurrence in our household and these bad boys are flavoured with Harissa and mint. Then served with a glorious pearl couscous ‘salad’ that is loaded with North African flavours.
This is the first recipe that is just a straight up pork chop in the oven. If you get the feeling I am fond of pork chops you would be entirely correct!
They were an ever-present appearance throughout my childhood food memories and still are today. We are fortunate to get some of the best pork I have ever eaten locally, which makes it all the better.
The first thing that may spring to mind is that pork is often not associated with North African flavours.
Not because they don’t work, but because pork is not eaten in that part of the world.
That is their loss as this roast pork chop recipe is the tastiest recipe I have put up here in a while!
I know people who do this rarely admit to favourite recipes. Recipes seem to be like children, we are not allowed to have favourites!
Well, I say screw that, this dish had my wife and I screaming for more and has been made a lot since its inception.
What Is Harissa Paste?
Harissa is the dominant flavour in this roast pork chops recipe and it is one I love, it appears in all sorts of recipes here. Probably the most surprising is in my Orange and harissa salmon recipe.
Harissa is a spicy roasted pepper paste closely associated with Tunisia and Morocco through to Libya and Tunisia.
Harissa paste is one of the ingredients I typically advise people to buy. It has an insanely long shelf life, not that it lasts long here.
It is a complexly flavoured paste featuring 3 or 4 types of roasted peppers and the flavours of rose water, caraway, saffron, and garlic.
You can, of course, make your own and I have in the past… But quite honestly a good store-bought harissa paste will be better than your best efforts.
If you have not tried it then you are really missing out. Whether it is let down in a paste for these baked pork chops, or used to flavour bulgur wheat as in this meatball recipe.
Pearl Couscous or Israeli Couscous.
I’m so happy to have this ingredient back in my rotation. For some strange reason my ‘dealer’ dried up, it literally disappeared from all the shelves about 12 months ago.
Even the specialty stores I travel miles to get to. Sure I could have ordered it online, but I have a personal aversion to ordering food online.
Bricks and mortar stores for food hols a passionate place in my heart. I don’t mind ordering all sorts of stuff online, but not food!
Anyway I digress, I do that! Israeli couscous is also called Ptitim, it is a relatively new invention dating back to 1953.
It was created to fill bellies during times of economic strife in Isreal but it certainly does not taste that way! Ptitim is an extruded dough that is partially toasted before being packed.
It has a wonderfully nutty flavour and an almost chewy texture when cooked. It is the perfect base for a whole host of flavours and sits perfectly alongside these roast pork chops.
For other recipes featuring pearl couscous check out these:
- Za’atar Chicken Legs with Giant Cous Cous.
- Persian Roasted Cauliflower Steak.
- Pomegranate Chicken Thighs with Israeli Cous Cous.
For the Roast Pork Chops:
- 2 Pork Chops, Bone in, around 300-350g each.
- 1 Tbsp Harissa Paste
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Dried Mint
- Salt and Pepper
For the Pearl Couscous:
- 150 g Pearl Coucous, AKA Israeli Couscous
- 35 g Golden Raisins
- 1 Red Chili
- 125 g Cucumber
- 50 g Red Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 10 g Flaked Almonds
- 10 g Coriander
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 250 ml Chicken Stock
- Salt, To Taste
- Mix together the harissa paste, olive oil, and dried mint.
- Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper then liberally spread the harissa paste mix.
- Place the pork chops on a baking sheet and cook at 200°C or 400°F for 20-25 minutes.
- Slice your red onion into fine half moons and finely slice your garlic and chili.
- Dice your cucmber.
- Toast off the almonds in a dry pan and set aside. Keep and eye on the buggers they catch real quickly!
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the garlic and chili and cook for a minute.
- Add in the couscous and cook on for another 2 minutes stirring to coat in the flavours.
- Pour in the stock and add the raisins and simmer for 15 minutes. The salt content of your stock will define if and how much salt you add at this stage.
- Chop the coriander.
- When thepork chops are roasted set aside and rest for 5 minutes under a foil tent before serving.
- Whilst the meat is resting stir the coriander, red onion, cucumber and almonds into the couscous and cover with a lid.
- Serve and enjoy!
Make sure you stir any of the rested meat juices through the couscous before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1106Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 1939mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 9gSugar: 18gProtein: 70g