Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Sauteed Spicy Greens

Pork chops and collard greens
This simple but satisfying supper was born of necessity and improvisation: We're presently living in our RV as renovation projects have taken over our house, leaving us with a small but serviceable range, refrigerator and freezer in our temporary "residence."

A friend was kind enough to give me a bunch of tender collard greens from her garden, and I had a couple of frozen pork chops from my favorite local source (MAE Farm) plus an onion, olive oil and basic seasonings. We also had a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and I happen to like white wine with pork. VoilĂ , dinner in under an hour!

The amounts in the following "recipe" (quotation marks simply because this is more of a guide rather than a formal recipe) are completely adjustable to suit your needs and preferences. Plan on 1 pork chop per person, and one bunch of collards or other greens for every 2 adults (you can always refrigerate any leftover greens for later meals). Although I used a chimichurri seasoning blend for the chops, any kind of spice blend or seasoning rub for meat will work. Good choices include Chili Pepper Republic Coffee Bourbon Molasses Rub for an earthy-spicy-sweet flavor, Pork Rubbers Mary's Cherry Rub made with real cherry and a hint of smoke, and Stubb's Pork Spice Rub with a zesty-tangy flavor from dried chilies, lime, paprika and mustard.

Stubb's Pork Spice Rub
Olive Oil
Chopped Onion (I used half of a small onion for 1 small bunch of collards)
Collard Greens, well washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 or 2 dashes (or to taste) Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
White Wine
Pork Chops (I prefer bone-in)
Dry Rub or BBQ Seasoning Blend, or simply some salt, pepper & a dried herb or two

Pour just enough olive oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or large, deep skillet to cover the bottom. Add onions and saute over medium heat until translucent and tender. Add collards and cook, stirring regularly, until wilted and bright green. Season as desired with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then pour in about 1/4 cup (or more for a large bunch of collards) wine. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook until completely tender, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of wine if the greens start looking too dry. It's hard to overcook collards, which is why I start them first before cooking the pork chops and that way the greens should be done at the same time as the chops.

cooking pork chops
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is perfect) over medium-high or high heat. While this skillet is heating, season both sides of the pork chops with your choice of complementary seasoning. When the skillet is hot, place the chops in the pan and cook for several minutes (at least 5, longer for thicker chops) undisturbed to create a good dark-brown sear. Carefully flip the chops to sear the other side for a few minutes, then reduce heat to medium and partially cover pan (I completely cover with a metal mesh splatter screen rather than partially covering with a lid). Cook until the pork chops are done: The juices flow clear or the center interior reaches 140°F on your meat thermometer.

To serve, spoon some of the collards & onions on each plate and top with a pork chop.

Zestfully yours,

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