The confident cook

Recipe: Pork chops with creamy braised cabbage and leeks gets fall off to a running start

Pork chops with creamy braised cabbage and leeks
Pork chops with creamy braised cabbage and leeksSally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

A hearty dish of pork chops with creamy braised cabbage gets fall off to a running start. This dish will shake off the chill and remind you of the pleasures of seasonal eating. It’s Saturday supper fare after apple picking or a long hike.

The technique of browning meat on top of the stove and then popping it into the oven to finish cooking is a favorite of mine, a good method for cooking steaks, chicken, and pork. While you’re at it, cook some vegetables to go with it. Here, cabbage and leeks soften slowly in the same pan used to brown pork chops, so they absorb all the good flavors. They’re nicely balanced: sweet cider and leeks melt into the cabbage; cream and mustard tie them together with a little acidity. The meaty chops infuse all the elements when they go into the oven together. This is the supper to look forward to after an invigorating day outdoors.


Pork chops with creamy braised
cabbage and leeks

Serves 4

4bone-in pork rib or loin chops (9- to 10-ounces each), about 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons olive oil
2medium leeks, thinly sliced
1medium (about 2½ pounds) green cabbage, quartered, cored, and thickly sliced
¾cup apple cider
1teaspoon caraway seed
1cup heavy cream
1tablespoon grainy mustard
1tablespoon Dijon mustard
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a deep, heavy 12-inch skillet with a heatproof handle or a shallow flameproof casserole.

2. Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In the skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the chops and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on a side, or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

3. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the cabbage, cider, caraway seed, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is very tender.

4. Stir the cream, grainy mustard, and Dijon mustard into the cabbage. Bring to simmer, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Set the chops on the cabbage.


5. Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and let the pork rest for 5 minutes (the temperature will go up a few degrees).

6. On each plate, spoon some cabbage and sauce, add a chop, and sprinkle with parsley.
Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.