One recent evening I threw together this combo – pork chops with peaches, sweet onions, and shallots with some roasted zucchini. It was delicious–the perfect balance of sweet and savory. What brought the meal together was the spice rub. It features a popular spice, though one you’d more expect to find in a cookie recipe than a pork chop recipe—cacao!

Cacao is famous for being the stuff chocolate is made of. While we tend to think eating lots of chocolate is unhealthy, cacao itself has a ton of health benefits. It’s good for the heart and overall cardiovascular functioning, improving the health of the heart and brain arteries and lowering blood pressure and glucose levels. Cacao also has a large number of antioxidants, which are known to prevent cancer or improve the outcome when the disease is already present.

This spice rub is just terrific to have around for use on pork, duck, or chicken. Use a mini spice grinder and keep it in a tightly closed glass jar or plastic container.

Mary’s Cocoa Spice Rub

1 Tbs. raw cacao nibs

1.5 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

8 juniper berries

4 whole cloves

Combine everything in a mini spice grinder and pulse until finely ground.


Pork Chops with Peaches, Sweet Onions and Shallots – serves 3

3 pork chops with tenderloin section, 3/4” thick

11/2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 Tbs. olive oil

Mary’s cocoa spice rub on one side of chops, S + P on the other side

1/2 large Vidalia onion, cut in 1/4 “ thick slices

2 small shallots, peeled and cut into 1/4” slices

3 smallish white peaches, washed, cored and cut into 8 slices

1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a Vouvrey)

Parsley, chopped for garnish


Wash pork chops and dry with a paper towel. Season one side of the chops with a heavy sprinkling of the spice rub.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add sliced onions and shallots, cover for about 10 minutes. Raise heat to medium high. Add chops, seasoned side down and let cook for 4 – 5 minutes, uncovered.  Salt and pepper the top side, turn the chops and add the peaches all over. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for another 2 -4 minutes, uncovered, until just done, 140 degrees. Remove the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

Keep the sauce and peaches warm on low heat and slightly covered.

After meat has finished resting, pour peaches, onions and juices overall, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with LOVE.

About The Author

My name is Mary Frances. I am a designer, creative director, painter, wife, mother and cook. I own an internationally recognized, award-winning brand development and marketing communications firm in New York City, and am a graduate of Parsons School of Design. I especially love to cook and serve great food to make people content and happy. Hearing mmmm’s makes my heart soar. I grew up in suburban St. Louis, in Webster Groves, the youngest of six and the only girl. (Yes, that’s FIVE older brothers!) My mom was a great home cook, and she made sure that I could make a mean pie from scratch. After Parsons, I married, had two boys and moved from NYC to the NJ suburbs where I threw myself into cooking and entertaining. Now it’s time for me to share the great recipes, tips, stories and LOVE with you. The inspiration for LOVE – the secret ingredient came from our youngest son when he wrote in a gift cookbook that the one ingredient that was ever-present in my meals was love. When you cook with LOVE, everything just tastes better.

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