To herald the beginning of autumn and the first day of October, here’s an easy (but sophisticated) sweet & savory meal that hits ALL your taste buds. We ran it as a special last night at the restaurant and it sold out in the first hour! The tart apples, broccoli rabe, BBQ rice & beans, endive, caramelized onions, and beautiful center cut pork chop are sautéed with an elegant honey-scented jus for just the right combination of sweet, sour, earthy, bitter and salty: all 5 taste buds! That’s the way you know you have a beautifully balanced and satisfying meal...when you can check all of those boxes! Please don’t let the preparation or plating intimidate you... I’ll walk you through every step and I promise it’s easier than it looks!
Chef’s Notes: if you’re not a pork-eater, feel free to substitute the pork chop for chicken breast or even half a chicken here. You can use the same seasonings and same cooking time since both need to be cooked thoroughly. Also, use my recipe for clean BBQ sauce that I’ve posted before. But I’m also including it here for your convenience. Lastly, this is a VERY CLEAN recipe. I don’t tend to count calories if I know I’m eating clean, but for those of you who do, please know that the honey adds a negligible amount of calories and sugar since it’s divided over 4 servings. And it makes the taste magical!
• 4 center cut pork chops
• 1 bunch of broccoli rabe
• 2 apples (red or green), cored & sliced into sixths or eighths
• 1 onion, sliced into strips
• 2 endive hearts, cut in half lengthwise
• 2 cups of brown rice (prepared according to package directions)
• 1 can of pinto beans (or beans of your choice, rinsed and drained)
• 1/2 cup of clean BBQ sauce (see my recipe for it here; I’ll also paste it below for your convenience)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1/2 cup clean/organic chicken or veggie broth
• 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
• 4 tablespoons coconut aminos (divided)
• 1 tsp each sea salt & ground pepper
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat your oven to 375F. Prepare the center cut “T-Bone” pork chops by patting them dry with a paper towel and then seasoning them with a pinch of salt & pepper and paprika. In a very hot pan, using 1 tbsp of olive oil, sear the pork chops on each side for about 2-3 minutes per side. Then place onto a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes (internal temp should reach 165F).
2. In a small pot, combine the cooked rice and the can of beans with 1/2 cup of clean BBQ sauce. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low to keep it warm.
3. While the rice and pork is cooking, blanch the broccoli rabe by dropping it into boiling water for 2 minutes (no more) and then immediately submerging it into cold water (ice water is best). That stops it from overcooking. Then sauté the broccoli rabe over low heat in 1 tbsp olive oil, the salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice. Keep the it warm over very low heat. (Try to do this step towards the end of your cooking time).
4. In a separate pan, while the rice and broccoli rabe are cooking, using 1 tbsp olive oil, sear the inside of the sliced endive hearts. (Meaning place each endive heart face down in a very hot pan for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside once they’re softened.
5. Using the same pan (leaving the endive juices in the pan, using another tbsp of olive oil and the coconut aminos, sauté the onions over high heat until they become brown and caramelized. Then set them aside as well.
6. Using the same pan and the same drippings, combine the chicken or veggie broth and the honey. Bring to a simmer and allow it to reduce for about 3-5 minutes. Then add the apple slices to the pan and sauté them until they begin to soften. Then set them aside too. KEEP THE PAN SAUCE TO TOP THE PORK!!
7. By now, the pork should be done and you’re ready to plate. Here’s the way I plated it: arrange a portion of broccoli rabe into a wreath on the plate. Then fill the center of the wreath with a serving of the BBQ rice & beans. Then place one pork chop onto the rice and rabe. Top the pork with a serving of caramelized onions and one endive heart. Arrange 3 or 4 apple slices around the outside of the rabe wreath. Then drizzle some of the pan sauce over the pork, veggies and around the edges of the plate.
As always, enjoy and please post photos and comments!!
𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐁𝐁𝐐 𝐒𝐚𝐮𝐜𝐞-
Ingredients-• 2 cups tomato sauce (canned)• 2 tbsp tomato paste• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar• 2 tbsp coconut milk (canned)• 1/4 cup olive oil• 1/4 cup honey (or 1 tbsp granulated stevia)• 1 tsp. paprika• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper• 1/4 tsp ground coriander• 1/4 tsp cinnamon • 1 tsp liquid smoke• 2 tbsp onion powder• 1 tbsp garlic powder• 1 tsp each salt & pepper (to taste) Directions-Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.