Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pork chops w/ Apples, Wilted Garlic Kale, and Wild Rice

On Tuesday I was considering what to cook for dinner and knew I didn't have a protein thawed out, so I headed to Harris Teeter to pick up a meat and instead decided to design a full menu.  It's been awhile since Erica and I had had pork, I knew apples go well with porkchops (and are kind of seasonal, right?), but that I also wanted a vegetable that would counter the sweet taste of the apple.  I also knew I had wild rice at home.

In putting together any meal the sequence of steps in the cooking is very important if you want everything to be done at the same time, so I started with the rice following the porportions on the package, but I also added two chicken bouillon cubes and a tablespoon of butter.  It took about 45 minutes, but came out with a good flavor from the bouillon.

Next I decided to work with the kale.  I took about a third of a pound of kale, threw it in an ovensafe skillet, and seasoned well with salt and pepper.  I sliced up 4 cloves of garlic and threw that in the skillet as well, then poured about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over all of that.  While prepping that I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and once preheated I threw the skillet into the oven for about 20 minutes.  Pulled out the skillet and then using tongs I took the kale from the skillet onto a cutting board.  I did a rough chop to make the kale more manageable and threw it back into the skillet on the range and took the heat to medium-high.
Wilted Kale & Garlic

I used that heat to take out some of the water that the kale sweated off in the oven, and once satisfied that the water was mostly gone I pulled it from the heat and set it aside.

While the kale was in the oven I brought a different skillet to medium-high heat and cooked up the pork chops in the skillet.  They took about 3 to 4 minutes per side, I took them off the skillet and put them on an ovensafe plate.  After the kale was out of the oven, I took the heat down to 190 on the oven and put the cooked pork chops in the oven to keep them warm.  This has been a favorite trick of mine to cook the meat and keep it ready to go while working on a sauce.  In this case, I deglazed the pork chop skillet with a rose wine and then tossed in thinly sliced pieces of a jazz apple.  I threw in a heaping tablespoon of sugar and some cinnamon and stirred it around, then let it reduce.  After about 5 minutes I tasted it and it wasn't as sweet as I wanted it so I threw in two more tablespoons of sugar and some more cinnamon and let it reduce down till almost all the liquid was gone, then I pulled it off the heat.  This is what the sauce looked like in the skillet once I pulled it from the heat.
Cooked Apples reduced in wine

Amazingly all these components came together at the same so I plated up everything.  Here is the fully assembled plate.
Pork chops w/ Apples, Wilted Kale, and Wild Rice

In the end it was a great success.  The apples were sweet and went really well with the pork chops.  The kale was a great contrast to the apples with a strong garlic taste.  The wild rice was good and served the purpose of having a starch on the plate.  It was a fun dish to make and great to try out something without a menu and with ingredients I'd picked up just an hour before.

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