Pork chops with kale are more than just a simple weeknight meal. They’re also a beguiling combination of sweet and salty, made with apricot preserves, raisins, and kalamata olives. A truly comforting dinner, you can tuck into these juicy chops in less than an hour.
There are a lot of really excellent jams, marmalades, and preserves made in France, but a jar of gingham-capped Bonne Maman apricot preserves is the ultimate equalizer. You’ll find them everywhere: the corner shop, hotel breakfast buffets, my ex-girlfriend’s grandmother’s kitchen. You’ll also find them at most American grocery stores. Not just for toast, they can and should be used in sweet applications as well as savory.–Rebekah Peppler
Pork Chops with Kale
- 6 (12 ounce) bone-in pork chops (about 1 inch | 25 mm thick)
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 (20 oz) large bunches of kale stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup pitted black olives, such as kalamata roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) and set a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Pat pork chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add three of the pork chops and sear until browned on the first side, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and immediately move skillet to the oven. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of the meat registers 130°F [54°C], 3 to 4 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the chop.
- Carefully remove skillet from oven, place pork chops on a cutting board, and use a pastry brush to brush chops with 2 tablespoons of preserves. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining oil, pork chops, and 2 tablespoons of preserves.
- While the pork chops rest, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the orange juice, vinegar, and red pepper. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of preserves and the mustard.
- To the skillet, add the kale in batches. Cook, using tongs to toss the greens often, until all the kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the olives, raisins, and butter and toss. Season and arrange on a serving platter.
- Using a sharp knife, remove bones from pork chops and cut meat into 1/4-inch (6 mm) slices. Arrange on top of cooked kale and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Yum, what a happy surprise of a recipe this was! Even my olive-shunning partner went for seconds on the kale because this recipe for pork chops with kale was just so flavorful and delicious. We cooked exactly 1/3 of this recipe for the two of us and it was just right.
We ate boiled tiny potatoes with it but agreed that we’d try farro, couscous, or some other kind of grain alongside it next time as we thought it would taste awesome with the kale. The best bites were the ones where we could get a bite of the pork along with each of the other ingredients. The raisins and olives gave a bit of sweetness and saltiness, and the other ingredients really just balanced everything out.
We liked the kale so much that I think we’ll make that on its own as a side dish to other meals. The pork chops that I could find were slightly less than an inch thick, so I just cooked it for a little less time. Do yourself a favor and combine the ingredients that all go in at the same time, like the orange juice, vinegar, and red pepper flakes, for example. This recipe goes pretty quickly, so it’s helpful to have each step ready to go in all at once.
We loved these pork chops with kale! So often, pork chops tend to be dried out, but these remained tender and juicy and the tangy, wilted kale, which was beautifully highlighted with pops of flavor from the olives and raisins was a perfect accompaniment. I’ll be making this frequently.
Originally published August 28, 2021