On a Sunday evening, after running errands, tending to the chickens, tending to what's left of the garden, and chopping up the half of the 30+yr maple that fell in the wet snowstorm we had earlier this week, I thought Mr. Rose deserved a nice home cooked meal. The only problem was that I was along side him doing everything but the heavy lifting, and I was pretty drained too. So the nice home cooked meal had to be quick and simple. It was. From start to finish, I had the table set and was ringing the dinner bell in 30 minutes.
The trick to making a quick dinner quickly is knowing when you have a few minutes between cooking one thing to work on another thing. For this simple dinner, I prepped the kale while the pork was roasting and cooked it while the balsamic fig sauce was roasting.
Now that you know this, take a look at the recipes below and let me know whether these logistics work as well for you.
Pan-roasted pork chops with balsamic fig sauce (serves 4)
4 x 6 oz. center cut boneless pork chops, cut about 1 inch thick
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 c chicken stock (or turkey stock, which is what I had after Canadian Thanksgiving)
1 tsp minced thyme
4 tbsp fig spread (the kind you might find in the cheese section at the store)
coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pat the pork chops dry and generously sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper. Preheat a cast iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed skillet that can go in the oven) over medium-high heat. You want the pan so hot that a drop of water will sizzle and evaporate quickly, but not so that it skitters across the pan before it disappears -- if it does that, the pan is too hot.
Add oil and tilt skillet to coat. Throw the pork chops in with a bit of space between them. Let them sear for about 2 minutes so that they are well-browned and easily lift up off the skillet with tongs. Once browned on that side, flip the chops over and sear the other side for another minute. Then transfer to the oven and roast for 5-8 minutes, when the meat is just firm (or if you need scientific precision, till a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees F in the center of the chop). Set the skillet on the stove top, remove the chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep them warm. Heat the skillet on medium and deglaze the pan with the stock and balsamic vinegar. Reduce to 1/2 cup of liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and fig spread, stirring slowly. Reduce again to 1/4 cup of liquid. Plate and serve with pork chops.
Garlic Chopped Kale with a Kick
16 stalks of kale
4 tbsp olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c water
salt to taste
Wash kale and remove ribs. Chop coarsely. Mince garlic and anchovies. In a large saute pan (I used a wok), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovies, stirring constantly so nothing burns. Add the chopped kale and stir fry the mixture. Add salt to taste (I used just a pinch of kosher salt and that was right). As the kale starts to wilt, toss in the red pepper flakes. Add 1/4 cup of water and stop stirring for 30 seconds or so, until all of the water has steamed off. Stir again, then add another 1/4 cup of water and let sit again for 30 seconds. Stir, add more salt or red pepper flakes to taste. Plate next to your tasty pork chops and serve!