New "in" spot's pork chops for cool fall days

As the weather gets cooler, people look for hearty, warmer dishes.

And "Early Show" contributor Katie Lee found a perfect pairing of spicy and sweet at, olf all places, one of hottest new restaurants in -- Miami Beach -- 15-hundred degrees, in the famed Eden Roc Hotel, where Katie was shown around by chef and owner Paula DaSilva.

There is, Paula noted, lots of history at the Eden Roc. It was "the place to be seen, and the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop) used to hang out here."

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Also, some episodes of "I Love Lucy" were shot there.

"It's quite the iconic place with a lot of history," Paula observed.

And now it's a hot spot again, with 1500 Degrees there.

Paula is living the American dream. She came to the U.S. with her family in 1986 from Brazil speaking no English. Her parents opened a restaurant in Massachusetts, and now, she's at the helm of one of 1500 Degrees.

"We are going to be doing some roasted pork chops, with a special hickory rub that I have, roasted root vegetables, a creamy polenta, and a pear chutney," Paula said.

"We're going to go ahead and start with beautiful root vegetables. ... We have radishes, we have beets, we have turnips, we have carrots.

"Toss these with a little bit of olive oil, little dash of salt, little bit of fresh black pepper ... and these are going to go into the oven at 350 degrees for ten, twelve minutes or so."

The spice rub is made in a coffee bean grinder with some smoked sea salt, paprika, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, garlic, all kinds of good stuff.

"This rub," Paula said, "you want to apply it pretty liberally, we'll do a little bit of salt as well, little bit of black pepper, and here we go right into our broiler."

Next, she said, "Move ahead to the polenta and pear chutney.

"Pears are what are in-season right now, they're beautiful. They're very sweat on their own. ... So (I sue them) to bring something sweet to the pork. ... It balances it out really nicely."

The chutney is made out of pear, cinnamon sticks, a little bit of cayenne pepper for some Miami spice, and some chardonnay vinegar.

"Get it on the stove and move on to our polenta," Paula says. "Check on the pork. Pull out the veggies."

It comes out of the oven sizzling and juicy.

Pork chops get kind of a bad reputation for being dry, but not this one. It was so juicy, and it had that hickory spice taste from the rub with that creamy polenta and that sweet pear chutney. It hit every sensory tastebud in my mouth.

Paula was more than pleased with Katie's reaction.

"Awesome!" Paula exclaimed.

For Paula's recipe, go to Page 2.

  • Katie Lee

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