Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jameson are two of my favorite cookbook authors, so when I saw that they had created the cover recipe for the October issue of Cooking Light—Walnut-Crusted Pork Chops with Autumn Vegetable Wild Rice—I knew I had to make it for this week's Cooking from the Glossies post. Besides, I'd been looking for an interesting and new way to prepare wild rice, one of my favorite fall staples.
While the results were hearty, salty, and juicy (more on that in a bit), I first want to point out that there was a typo in the print version of the recipe. The photo clearly depicts a large, bone-in pork chop, while the ingredient list calls for 4-ounce boneless chops. The bone isn't the issue, but the weight is: a 4-ounce piece of meat is a tiny portion, even by "lite" standards! Knowing it had to be wrong, I asked my butcher for 7-ounce boneless chops. (This turned out to be a wise move—Cooking Light has since revised the recipe on their website, and now it calls for 8-ounce bone-in chops. You can use whichever you prefer.)
But back to actual dish. In combination, the Worcestershire-sage marinade and ground walnut crust infused the pork with an herbaceous, nutty-caramel flavor. Normally I salt everything (even canned soups), but my chop was perfectly seasoned. The wild rice accompaniment was a toasty fusion of flavors: sautéed mushrooms, sweet chunks of apple, and crisp pieces of bacon. I substituted spinach for the Swiss chard which was fine, but I also skipped the jalapeño, which I won't do if I prepare this dish again. It needed just a bit more spice.
This is a super dish for a Sunday night. It feels both casual and special, and it's definitely festive. It also takes a fair amount of time to prepare: The pork chops have to marinate for half an hour, and the recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked wild rice, which means you have to make it in advance.
Adapted from Cooking Light.
- For the pork:
- Four 8-ounce bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed (or 7-ounce boneless chops)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup walnuts, finely ground
- 1 bacon slice
- 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- For the rice:
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 2 teaspoons diced, seeded jalapeño pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 cups finely trimmed chopped Swiss chard
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
To prepare pork, place chops in a shallow dish; drizzle evenly with Worcestershire. Combine salt, sage, and black pepper in a small bowl. Reserve 3/4 teaspoon salt mixture. Add walnuts to remaining salt mixture; toss well. Press walnut mixture onto both sides of pork chops. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Cook bacon slice in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add pork chops to drippings in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Add 3/4 cup chicken broth to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan.
To prepare rice, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; cover and cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in reserved 3/4 teaspoon salt mixture, chard, mushrooms, and apple. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until carrot is tender. Stir in rice and 1/2 cup broth. Bring to a simmer; cook, uncovered 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in bacon.
Place 1 cup rice mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 pork chop. Drizzle each serving with pan drippings, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon parsley.