Let me tell you guys about one of my favorite friends of all time…Creek Stewart! Many of you may know him from his hit shows, Fat Guys in the Woods and SOS: How to Survive on The Weather Channel. If you haven’t seen those shows, you really need to. Before Fat Guys in the Woods aired, I interviewed Creek for my website. Follow that link to read the interview. He’s a really popular guy, so the interview was a big hit. People really can’t get enough Creek in their lives!
Creek is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and my personal resource for all things survival. He is the real deal in so many ways: a friend, a survivalist, an author, a visionary, a solution man. The list goes on and on. A while back, he asked me to help create recipes for his Wild Edible Plant of the Month Club, and I jumped on the opportunity. Follow that link and sign up for the club! If you aren’t getting these info packets, you’re truly missing out on some interesting natural recipes. Every month, he sends out four full color pages packed with tons of high-resolution photos, identification features, harvesting and preparation instructions for each plant, plus a specially created recipe by yours truly!
Creek and I are both huge wild food nuts, but I am always amazed at how Creek challenges me to take it to the next level. Though I cook from the wild almost every day, I don’t have access to some of the wild edible plants that he likes to feature in his Wild Edible Club, so he has them sent to me! How fun is that? I wish you could be here when I open the packages. My family gathers around to get a sneak peek of the next kitchen challenge. I’ve had the pleasure (or challenge) of working with wild plants like Barrel Cactus, Japanese Knotweed, and a few more extraordinary ingredients with astounding and surprising flavors!
This month’s choice is Winter Cress, known by its scientific name Barbarea vulgaris. I actually didn’t have to have this one mailed to me. It grows abundantly in my area. I’m surrounded by it. Lucky me!
Winter Cress is a wonderful wild edible plant to pair with just about anything, from pork chops and venison, to fish and root vegetables. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been found a number of times eating creamed winter cress right out of the pan from which I cooked until it was pretty much gone. Shameful, yes, but surprisingly delicious too!
Winter Cress has a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with rich meats, so when conceptualizing this recipe, pork chops seemed like the perfect choice. Winter Cress is just beautiful sautéed on its own, but it’s spectacular when adding the creaminess of white beans (navy beans) and a little acidity from tomatoes. You are going to adore this dish!
One Skillet Pork Chops Over Garlic Winter Cress
- 4 pounds 1-inch thick pork chops
- olive oil for pan frying
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Winter Cress
- 1 pound Winter Cress washed and cut into strips, reserving the flowers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 8 oz. can navy beans
- 1 8 oz. can chopped tomatoes drained
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Liberally sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides
- In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until oil is shimmering. Place chops in the pan and sear for 3 minutes, then turn and sear the other side of the chops for another 2 minutes. Transfer chops to the preheated oven. Roast the chops for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the temperature of the chops read 145 degrees at the thickest part of the chop. Remove the cooked pork chops to a plate, and allow them to rest while you make the Garlic Winter Cress.
- In the same skillet used for the pork chops, add olive oil to the pan juices. Place skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until onions are almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the winter cress and sauté for about 5 minutes or until wilted, but not mushy. Toss frequently as you cook the winter cress. Stir in the beans and tomatoes to the cress and gently stiru until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the pork chops over the cress and sprinkle with the winter cress flowers for a tasty and beautiful presentation.