Another day, another experiment. I have never tried cooking with kumquats before but I saw some at Fairway the other day and wanted to try them out. The majority of the kumquat recipes I found were dessert recipes, but I really wanted to make something savory. My Andrea Reusing cookbook has a recipe for duck breasts with kumquats, but since we had already made duck in the past few weeks I wanted to try something else. I briefly considered making chicken instead, but we eat too much chicken. When we went through the freezer to see what would work with the chutney I found some organic center-cut, bone-in duBreton pork chops that I had picked up awhile back. We don't eat a lot of pork chops, but I do enjoy a good bone-in chop form time-to-time so I pick them up on occasion. I'm not certain how long these pork chops were in the freezer, but it had been at least a few months. Pork and bitter greens are a natural pairing (see the Baked Pork Chops with Swiss Chard for an example) so the red kale we already had in the fridge seemed like a good idea. We made a really simple pan-roasted pork chop and a simple sauteed kale with pine nuts since the chutney sounded like it would be pretty flavorful and I didn't want the flavors of any of the dish's components to compete or conflict.
I think that the curried chutney worked really nicely with the pork chops and the kale. I was really happy with this meal - happier than I have been with one of our experiments in awhile. The pork chops were juicy and meaty and were a great blank canvas for the chutney. The chutney was sweet and fragrant, with a very interesting flavor. It was very different, but I could see using it in a number of different (savory) ways. The recipe suggests pairing it with goat cheese, which I could totally see, as well as lamb or pork. I'm not sure I would pair the chutney with lamb, but I could definitely see it with another cut of pork and chicken or turkey. It is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so and I thought the sweetness and acidity with the meaty pork chop was really nice. The kale was very simple but I thought it was also nice. It was a good simple side that would pair nicely with a number of entrees. I almost never use red kale because I have a mild obsession with lacinato kale (aka Tuscan kale), but I think it was really nice here. This might be just the wake up call I needed to pick up a bunch or two of red kale more often.
Recipes after the jump!
Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Curried Kumquat Chutney and Sauteed Kale
2 (1 1/2-inch-thick) rib pork chops
1 tbsp evoo
2 bunches red kale, thick stems removed and coarsely chopped, rinsed and still damp
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Curried Kumquat Chutney (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pat chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet (or other heavy oven-safe skillet) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chops, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chops with tongs to a cutting board and cover chops loosely with foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for three minutes. Add garlic and saute until onion is soft and garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 additional minutes. Add half of kale, packing slightly. Cook until kale begins to wilt, tossing often, about 2 minutes. Add remaining kale. Toss until kale is just tender and still bright green, about 3 additional minutes. Add toasted pine nuts and toss to combine. Season to taste with s&p.