Back to the Grind, and A Favorite Dinner Recipe

Today I have to go back to the office and be a lawyer for a bit. There is a lot to catch up on after taking off the last few days to work on the barn.  I also just finally got notification that my appointment as counsel on a case in the California Supreme Court went through, and that set off an email flurry at 7 AM from excited colleagues around the state who work in my little niche area of law, sending me helpful cases and articles.  It’s great to have such a supportive community around me for my first case in the Supreme Court. It’s a little stressful at 7 in the morning though.  A reminder that I’m not actually a full-time goat farmer after all!

So here’s a recipe for a whole dinner that is a real favorite around here. I thought I would share it because we had it last night and it was, as always, SO yum.  Beware that this recipe is written exactly how I cook, which is to say it’s a little bit free-form.

Pork Chops with Spicy Braised Kale over Creamy Jalapeno Polenta


You will need:
Dry polenta (I like Golden Pheasant Brand)
Chicken stock
Grated cheddar cheese
Pickled jalapenos (find them in a can in the Mexican section of the grocery store)
1 bunch of Lacinato (or ‘Dino’) kale
3 cloves of garlic
Apple cider vinegar
Hot sauce (Like Tabasco or Crystal or whatever is your favorite)
Pork chops (I like to use lean, boneless loin chops from our local organic pork producer)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, etc.
Here’s how I attack it: Mince up about 3 cloves of garlic, then chop up a bunch of kale. Cut the kale in strips like it’s romaine lettuce for salad.  Heat up a lidded pan with some olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for a minute, then add the kale and get it coated with the oil. Throw a pinch of salt on, then, when the kale has wilted down a little, pour about a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar over it, a few good shakes of hot sauce, and put the lid on. Reduce the heat to low, put it on the back burner. Check it periodically to make sure it’s not burning. Add more vinegar if it looks like it’s drying out.
Once the kale is on the back burner, it’s time for the polenta. I make it with 4 parts stock to 1 part polenta – for two people, about 3/4 cup of dry polenta makes a hearty portion. Put your stock, a pinch of salt, and some pepper in a sauce pan and get it boiling. While the stock is heating up, measure out your polenta and set it aside.
While you’re waiting for the stock to boil, get a saute pan or skillet hot for your pork chop. Use a paper towel to dry the chop on both sides. Season with garlic salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon or so of oil and put your chop in. The chop should cook for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Check the kale.
Now grate the cheddar cheese and dice the jalapenos for the polenta and set aside. If the stock is boiling, add the polenta now and turn the heat down to medium/low.  Once you add the dry polenta to the boiling stock you’ll have to stir it constantly with a whisk to keep it from burning and splattering.  Check the kale and flip your chop.  Once the polenta is the consistency of a thick soup, add the cheese and the jalapenos and keep stirring.  When it’s sort of a loose mashed potatoes consistency turn off the heat and put the lid on.
The kale and the chop should be ready about this time, so you can serve it up.  The kale should be tender and the chop should be brown on both sides and and just firm in the center. I serve in a shallow bowl, first a few big spoonfuls of polenta, then kale over that, and then the chop.

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