Friday, April 23, 2010

Oven Baked Pork Chops & Veggies w/ Quinoa

Dan got us some beautiful, thick, bone-in pork chops and kale this week, and suggested they be paired with quinoa.

I started by seasoning the pork with salt & pepper, preheating the oven to 350 degrees F, putting my cast iron skillet heated on high and my paella pan heated on medium-high, both with a little olive oil in them, and a pot with some chicken stock on to boil. While those were all heating up, I chopped the kale, plus garlic, shallots and carrots.

I tossed the shallots in the paella pan and let them begin to brown. When the chicken stock reached boiling, I poured in the washed quinoa, covered it, and reduced the heat to medium to simmer. I added the carrots to the pan with the shallots, and let them begin heating. Next I placed the chops in the skillet, letting them sear on one side until golden brown, then flipping and doing the same on the other side. The garlic and kale then went in the paella pan, cover on, to cook down.

When the pork chops were just about browned on the second side, I reduced the heat and poured 1/2 cup of bacon-infused bourbon (something I made a couple years back) over the chops, then turned the heat off on the skillet. I pulled the veggies out of their pan and on top of the chops in the skillet, the poured in some chicken stock and put the whole skillet into the oven to cook. I checked the meat temperature periodically, and pulled them out when the chops were just cooked through. I served the chops over the quinoa and topped with the veggies.

I liked that some of the kale became crispy, while portions that remained in the stock at the bottom of the pan remained soft - creating more textures. I could've pulled the pork a little earlier, but it was still good and not exactly overcooked - I just think it could've been a little better. The quinoa was very flavorful thanks to the chicken broth - and I look forward to experimenting with different broths and seasonings with this new-found, easy, nutritious side dish.

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