Rhubarb + Kale with Chops – Recipe Review
I create recipes weekly and have done this for years, so it’s actually difficult for me to follow a recipe without drifting off into my head somewhere and losing my place, or I keep making changes as I go. I don’t think I will ever really know a recipe by its exact recreation because I think of them as inspiration and then, I stubbornly go my own way. I believe the reason for my inability to follow a recipe is that I’ve become too comfortable with my kitchen, my ingredients, my tools and the ways I prepare food. I improve, but only within the constraints I’ve put on myself by my preferences. We eat a wide variety of food, but I have felt stagnant and unadventurous, so trying new-to-me ingredients, new-to-me techniques and products will be a part of this blog and my Zest Quest journey. A way to find joy in what the earth provides while learning from the talented people who inhabit it.
I’ll share more of my own recipes in the future, but I’m not going to reinvent the wheel when another blogger’s talent can be fully appreciated and recognized, especially when I haven’t a clue what to do with some of the ingredients in our farm share each week. That’s why I’ll be adding recipe reviews to my food category, an idea I found by Anjali Presertong at The Kitchn (thankyou!). Since I’ve been a reviewer of books and movies for years, add my two cents on plant varieties here at this blog, as well as plan to recommend products I enjoy using, plus regularly review recipe books I add to my collection, creating recipe reviews seems to be the perfect compliment. Don’t expect negative reviews, though, unless you consider making fun of myself for messing something up as a negative, because this is my little world of happiness, where it’s sunny all the time because I choose to see the light in everything I experience. I hope you laugh along with me because my life is never perfect and there are a lot of bumps in my road to poke fun at. 🙂
I have never prepared Rhubarb or Kale before, so I relied on Fresh Fork Market’s recipe for Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Onion Jam and Braised Kale located here. I love their program because I can try new things with the support of their site and staff to guide me. I wanted to try this recipe because it seemed like an unusual combination and it would get me to try cooked Rhubarb and Kale, as well as becoming more proficient with my cast iron skillet. It would also make Mr. Carnivore very happy because he loves pork chops and I just so happened to have two in the freezer waiting for this moment.
I made some changes based on what I had to work with and my preferences. First, I used the bunching onions we received in our week one share instead of the red onion. They do have a colorful tint and are very tasty when cooked. I also added a half of a Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips, because I’m not really fond of the gooey texture of Rhubarb cooked, even though I love it’s flavor, so I hoped that the Red Bell Pepper would add the extra crunch that I needed. Besides, that Red Bell Pepper was on its last day in the fridge so it was use it now or throw it away, which makes me feel so guilty.
I cooked the Rhubarb in my Caphalon non-stick stir fry pan because that’s my favorite pan for sticky messes. It also heats evenly and I rarely overcook anything in it.
I seared the chops in my cast iron skillet after seasoning them with Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning and Weber’s Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning, two of my favorites for pork. I actually have a 29 oz container of Montreal Steak seasoning instead of the 13 oz size, because I use it so often. It’s just a reliable seasoning that gives a good flavor to pork, beef, turkey burgers, plus it’s even flavorful on vegan burgers and vegetables when grilled. Since I started using it on turkey burgers, we eat less beef because the seasoning fools our brains into believing it’s actually a real steakburger we’re eating. You can easily use fresh ground pepper, salt, paprika and fresh garlic to to achieve the same results, but this seasoning is one of my reliable shortcuts.
I haven’t used my cast iron skillet very much, except for searing, so it was a nice change of pace for me to use it for more than one step in a meal and to also be able to put it in the oven. I really like the idea of searing the chops and then putting them in the oven to finish cooking, while doing that in one pan, which saves on the cleanup. I had read about this in another recipe I tried, but had skipped that part because I was afraid of my cast iron skillet! This time, I was going to wrangle that puppy! For the most part, this worked really well except I think I over-cooked the pork chops because they were a little dry. I will try this method again because I know the searing has worked beautifully in the past, so I think I just need some more practice with the oven timing.
I only had two Bunching Onions left so that’s all I used but I liked how they cooked in the cast iron pan when it was resting after cooking the pork chops. The pan gets so hot in the oven that the Onions just gently soften from the heat of it. I did add a little heat toward the end to soften the Red Pepper strips a bit more, but they did soften some with the Onion. The taste of the Onion with the Rhubarb is a nice accent and not something I would think to do. I enjoyed the addition of the Red Bell Pepper because that sweetness was a good combination and the crunch added palatability to the Rhubarb for me.
As for the wine, I didn’t have any sweet wine as mentioned in the recipe in the house except for Sangria so that’s what I used, but I reduced it to one half of a cup so it wouldn’t be too sweet. Normally, I wouldn’t cook with Sangria but it’s fun to see what will or will not work. This worked!
I used a combination of Kale and Spinach for the greens. I definitely didn’t use enough because there was just a taste for the two of us. I was surprised by how much they reduced in size when cooked. I didn’t use the Apple Cider Vinegar because Mr. Carnivore was hovering and I forgot it! You should have seen his horrified look when he saw me putting the greens into a cast iron skillet. He immediately wanted to know what I was doing with THAT and he looked rather appalled. I teased him that they cooked down to such a small amount that he would only get a taste, but I think he liked them more than he expected. HA! Win for the Flexitarian!
Here’s the plated combination…
So, to summarize, I made the following changes to this recipe: Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Onion Jam and Braised Kale.
1. Bunching onions instead of a red onion, then added 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips.
2. Seasoned the pork chops with Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning and Weber’s Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning.
3. Substituted the wines listed with Sangria and reduced the amount to 1/2 cup.
4. Skipped the Apple Cider Vinegar step but the braised kale/spinach was still flavorful from all the bits in the pan.
I recommend this recipe as something really different to try in whole or in parts because I see potential for each item to be used in combination with other dishes.
Let me know if you try it!
What’s for dinner at your house?