Tequila-Lime Pork Chops with Jalapeño Pesto and Guacamole

I saw the words "Jalapeño Pesto" in a recipe title over Christmas while paging through a cookbook I was wrapping up for my brother-in-law. Immediately I thought "holy cow! I need to make that!"

Kind of surprised that it took me this long to actually follow through.

This was another recipe that I came up with on the way to the store. I decided that I wanted to give the jalapeño pesto a shot, I just needed to figure out what I was going to serve it with/on/in. At the store, I noticed some nice looking boneless pork chops, and then the light bulb turned on in my brain (or stomach, or maybe palate).

So this is the result of yet another grocery store Eureka.

Tequila-Lime Pork Chops with Jalapeño Pesto and Guacamole

I started by preparing my favorite white-meat marinade. (great for shrimp too)

the marinade
4 limes
2 jalapeño peppers (minced finely)
1/2 cup tequila

4 boneless skinless pork chops

I like to just put the meat and marinade in a big zip-lock freezer bag, and then put the bag in a bowl in case it leaks.

Marinate for at least an hour (this marinade overnight makes for some ridiculously tender chicken breasts, by the way). I didn't have the foresight this time, so I only let it marinate for about an hour and a half.

Next, i worked on the pesto.

Jalapeño Pesto
3 large jalapeños
1 bunch of cilantro
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
good chunk of parmesan
(1/2 to 2/3 cup grated)
2 Tbsp. Olive oil

Pesto is something that can be made (in my opinion) either really quickly or really well, not both.  You could technically take all of these ingredients and throw them in a blender or food processor, and be done with it in 5-10 minutes.  In all honesty, this does produce a pretty decent pesto, but I really think it is worth it to make it by hand (Most people don't have the patience for chopping that i do though, so i won't blame you for using a food processor).

I like my pesto to have a less homogeneous texture.  Basically what i do is decide which of the ingredients in the pesto i want to be chopped more finely and which i want to be chopped more coarsely, and arrange them in order from fine to coarse. In this case, garlic » jalapeño » cilantro » cheese » pine nuts. Begin by chopping the first ingredient finely, then add the next ingredient right on top of that pile, and chop until that ingredient is minced, add the next right on top of the pile, chop until minced, etc.

Using this process, the ingredients you start with end up being pretty much totally pulverized, and the ingredients more toward the end have some texture to them still.

Once all the ingredients are chopped to your satisfaction, put it all in a bowl and mix in half the olive oil. (mix in the second half just before serving)

Next, I made a simple guacamole:

Basic Guacamole
2 large avocados
(3-4 if small)
1 medium tomato
small bunch of cilantro
1 lime
1/2 onion
salt and pepper to taste

This is pretty basic guacamole. I usually add some heat to it via a serrano or a jalapeño or two, but i wanted this to be the item on the plate that wasn't spicy. With guacamole i start by juicing the lime into a bowl and then mash/whip the avocados into the lime juice... this keeps it from turning brown. then just dice everything else up, stir it all, and you're done.

Once everything else was ready I grilled the pork chops, mixed in the last part of the oil to the pesto, and served.  (Advise serving with a few tortilla chips with which to eat the remaining guacamole and pesto)

Serve each pork chop on a bed of the pesto, with a nice glob of guacamole.

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