The definition of healthy cooking is a different meaning to everyone. There are vegetarians, pescatarian, only chicken and fish, paleo and the list goes on. In this household, I’m weary of our mostly vegetables, poultry and seafood diet. A couple holidays ago, Dad placed a few smoked pork chops in front of Jacinto and me. In less than ten minutes, except for the 2 pork chops Dad quickly saved, we ate them all. The flavor was juicy, savory and different. Since then, I often think about ‘diversifying’ our protein sources.
A few months ago, ButcherBox offered a free shipment of their subscription box of beef, pork and chicken. When it arrived, I was overwhelmed at the sight of the medium to large box. The refrigerated box was generously packed with dry ice. Each piece of meat was individually vacuumed sealed and frozen solid. On a weekday night, seeing meat that was frozen solid was a relief, because they were promptly placed in the freezer without thinking about the time used to properly wrap meat for the freezer.
Great food is all the sweeter when shared with great friends. Thanks @butcher_box for the special delivery of frozen hard 10 oz. of bacon , 1 lb. beef sirloin tips, 40 oz. bone-in porkchop, 24 oz. beef thin sliced, about 10 oz. beef top sirloin steak and 2 lb. ground beef! And, I appreciate the meat being delivered frozen and individually vacuumed sealed. I was able to immediately place it in the freezer after coming home late in the evening. Watch this profile for upcoming beef and pork #recipes! #myliferunsonfood
For the first time since leaving home to live by myself years ago, I created a menu and grocery list with beef and pork. I called my retired Dad for recipe and cooking advice, and he irritatingly replied, “…read a cookbook….” His thoughts were on the next fishing trip. For the following weeks, I made beef chili, bolognese sauce, quesadillas, and Maple Ginger Pork Chops with Colcannon from a recipe card inserted inside the refrigerated ButcherBox.
“Pork that touch lips, will never touch mine,” Jacinto said. He loved the Maple Ginger Pork Chops with Colcannon, and questioned me if the pork chops were properly cooked. “…I don’t want to get worms…,” he explained. As he licked his lips after the last bite, he said, “…this is the last time pork will be cooked in this house…” Little did he know, I’ve always snacked on slices of prosciutto layered over hummus open-faced sandwich drizzled with olive oil and with a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh black pepper or wrapped them around cantaloupe slices.
The pork chops were tender, savory and sweet. The colcannon was buttery. The recipe was a needed break from chicken thighs. After a few weeks of experimenting with beef and pork dishes, I made a vegetarian salad of roast sweet potatoes, black beans, feta cheese, scallions, spinach, almonds and grape size tomatoes with a lemon-white balsamic vinaigrette. A few months ago, Jacinto would’ve complained about the lack of chicken or seafood in a vegetarian meal, “…I want real meat… where’s the chicken in this salad?… Are we having ‘bullet-proof, rabbit food,’ again?…” This time, he loved the salad sans animal meat. We may never again have the same excessive quantity of beef or pork in our freezer as Butcher Box generously gave us. But, every once in a while, beef or pork will be added to the menu. After all, a little diversity in protein didn’t hurt anyone in this household.
- 4-10oz. bone-in, pork chops
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Tonewood Maple Seasoning, to taste
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh (or 1/2 tsp. dried) thyme leaves, more for garnish
- 3-1/2 cups fresh, finely chopped curly kale*
- 1-1/2 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 tbsp. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- About 6 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic powder, to taste
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Season pork chops with salt, pepper and Tonewood Maple Seasoning.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high temperature. When the skillet is hot, add one tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add pork chops. Cook each side until lightly brown for about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate. (Depending on the size of the skillet, might have to work in batches by repeating this step until all the pork chops are done). Set plate aside.
- Meanwhile, whisk maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, thyme, ginger and black pepper.
- After removing the last of the pork chops from the skillet, add the maple syrup sauce while the skillet is hot to bring to a simmer.
- Add pork chops to the simmering maple-ginger sauce to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side (until about 145°F). Remove pork chops when they’re fully cooked and allow remaining sauce to thicken (about 2 minutes), forming a maple glaze.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Using a large spoon with holes, remove potatoes from the pot onto a colander placed over a plate to catch excess water. Add kale to the boiling water to blanch for about 3 minutes, so it turns bright green. Drain the kale over another strainer. If necessary, squeeze out excess water from the greens.
- Place butter, potatoes, kale, scallions, salt, pepper, garlic powder, nutmeg and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on medium until smooth. While mixing the potatoes, taste and adjust seasoning.
- To plate: Place a spoonful of the colcannon onto a plate with a maple ginger glazed pork chop. Drizzle Maple Ginger Glaze over the colcannon and pork chops.
- Garnish plate with thyme leaves.
Recipe originally adapted from ButcherBox.
*The recipe originally said to exclude the tough stems, but kept them in the recipe, and found them delicious and enjoyed the extra crunchy texture in the colcannon.
Disclosure: ButcherBox generously provided all beef and pork mentioned in this blog post, and all opinions in this blog post are my own.
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