Pork Chops with Roasted Kale and Walnut Pesto

  • 1/2 small bunch kale (about 12 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 4 center-cut bone-in pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick (2 pounds total)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
  • 1 small clove garlic, quartered
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Baked potato or soft polenta, for serving

Preheat the grill.

Strip the kale leaves from the tough stems and discard the stems. Toss the leaves on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and spread them out in an even layer. Grill the greens, stirring once or twice until they turn a brighter green with bits of charred leaves, about 4 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and grill until the walnuts are fragrant but not burned, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Sprinkle both sides of the chops with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the rosemary. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 62°C, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.

While the chops are cooking, pulse the garlic and the cooled kale and walnuts in a food processor until chopped. Add the pepper flakes, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and continue to process to make a slightly chunky pesto. Adjust the consistency as desired with up to 1/4 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each pork chop with about 2 tablespoons of the pesto and serve with a baked potato or soft polenta.

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