serves: 6 servings
In Friuli, and neighboring regions, cooking pork and cabbage together in the same pot has been the habit for centuries. Sometimes the cabbage is in the form of sauerkraut (for example, Istrian capucci garniti,) and sometimes it is fresh Savoy cabbage. This recipe is a quick and delicious rendition of this one-pot tradition in which the meat and its juices are used to flavor and cook the cabbage. Here, the chops are browned in the skillet, leaving caramelization and pan juices that permeate the cabbage as it cooks alone, until they are united for a few minutes at the end. Together, they make a harmonious and satisfying meal-but If you have a hungry bunch, serve some grilled polenta alongside.
4 pounds Savoy cabbage
6 pork loin chops, on the bone
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in the large pot. Slice the cabbage head (or heads) in half and cut out the core completely so the leaves will separate. Discard all tough and torn outer leaves, lay the cabbage halves cut-side down and slice crosswise into strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Drop all the strips into the water, cover the pot and return to the boil. Cook the cabbage until tender, about 15 minutes, and drain through a colander.
When the cabbage is cooked, put 3 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil in the big skillet and set over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt (about 1 teaspoon in all) and lay them in the hot skillet. Drop the rosemary branches into the pan bottom.
Sear the chops on the underside, about 3 minutes, turn and brown the second side for a few minutes more. The chops should still be rare-if you like them better done, cook a minute or 2 longer on both sides. Remove to a platter and keep in a warm spot.
Pour the wine into the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze any caramelization. Cook for just a minute or so, to dissipate the alcohol, then drop in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir well until the butter melts and liquid is bubbling.
Pile the cooked, drained cabbage in the skillet, turning the strips over as they heat and wilt in the pan juices. Sprinkle a teaspoon salt all over and cook, tossing and stirring, until the pan is nearly dry and the cabbage shreds are just starting to caramelize.
Push aside the cabbage, lay the chops in the pan bottom and pour in any meat juices from the platter. Still over medium-high heat, cook the chops for 2 or 3 minutes, turning them over once or twice, just until they're heated through. Stir the cabbage so it continues to caramelize and pick up flavor. Season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve right from the skillet or arrange chops and cabbage on a platter and bring to the table.