Grilled pork chops with (muzhdei) garlic sauce

This recipe is really exciting to me because it’s the first recipe I’m featuring that’s officially Moldovian (a country I was born in). The republic of Moldova was formerly part of the Soviet Union, therefore I was exposed to a lot of the Russian culture (and food) but this one is the real Moldovian deal. Winking smile

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In case you are wondering, Moldovian is a completely different language… which I learned in school growing up as a second language. After the republic became independent in 1991, the schools slowly started migrating to 100% Moldovian. In fact the year we moved to Israel was the very last year classes were offered in Russian. Good thing they let me at least finish my curriculum. Nerd smile (On a separate note, how awesome are these smiley faces from Live Writer? LOVE. I digress…)

Anyways, the only 3 Moldovian recipes I actually remember are stuffed grape leaves, mamaliga (kind of like polenta) and this muzhdei sauce. I remembered it after eyeing it in my Please to the Table cookbook. And then I got excited, really excited. Did I mention how personally rewarding this Russian Bites project has been? I haven’t thought about all these foods for many, many years, and here I am – making them myself!!

In all this excitement, I forgot to take step-by-step photos. Not sure how that happened. But it’s crazy easy. I promise.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1T finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2T finely chopped fresh parsley (I used about half of dry but I’m sure fresh will be even tastier)
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4t kosher salt
  • 1/4t paprika
  • 2 large pork chops (mine were a little over 2lbs with bones, before I trimmed all visible fat)
  • 1T olive oil

1. In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients (garlic through paprika). Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

2. Lightly season pork chops with salt and pepper. Rub with olive oil.

3. Grill pork chops, occasionally topping with some sauce.

4. Serve chops with remaining sauce on the side.

The pork chops came out amazingly flavorful, like they’ve been marinating in the sauce for hours, even though all they got was a quick brush during the grilling process. It was ALL about that dipping sauce though…

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It is salty and garlicky and somehow just elevates simple ingredients to a whole new level. Imagine French dip but Moldovian style. I’m definitely adding this one to our regular rotation of dinner recipes!

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