Pork Chops with Kale

Very few things make me happier than discovering a dinner that:

a) does not require every pot and pan in the kitchen.
b) runs no risk of instigating a whinefest at the table.
c) can be prepared in the same amount of time (or less) that it takes for my second and third graders to do their homework at the kitchen table.

I’m not sure this last point was what Giuliano Bugialli had in mind when he dreamed up the delicate braciole de maiale con cavolo nero (Pork Chops with Kale) in his 1977 classic Fine Art of Italian Cooking. Unless he was cooking for high schoolers who had a full load of AP courses — because his version takes over 60 minutes and this adaptation takes under 30. Is it as good as it would be if I made it the way he instructed? Of course not. Is it a sacrilege to subject the recipe from a master to my compulsive corner-cutting impulse? Definitely. Will I be corner-cutting this recipe again soon on a night when I must get something delicious on the table quickly? Absolutely.

Pork with Kale
Adapted from
Fine Art of Italian Cooking

Wash and cut 1 bunch of kale into 2-inch pieces. Boil for 3 minutes in salted water, reserving a little of the water. Meanwhile, heat a few glugs of olive oil in a deep skillet. Add 1 garlic clove and cook over low heat, just enough to flavor oil without burning, about 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add 4-6 pork chops (butterflied, or pounded super thin) that have been salted, peppered, and sprinkled with a little fennel seed (optional) and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Pour reserved hot water into a heatproof bowl, whisk in 1 tablespoon tomato paste, then add tomatoey liquid to the pork chops. Cover skillet and simmer until pork is cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. In final 5 minutes, add kale to skillet and let it drink in the liquid. Serve with brown rice if you need it. (The Trader Joe’s fully cooked kind to make life easier.)

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Thanks for the recipe – very tasty and quick. I didn’t have ground fennel so I used garam masala. Our usual 3 out 4 ate it with gusto!


Great meal and very easy. Thank you! I had never tried kale until you provided the recipes (I still have to try the chips). It’s really very good.


Loved this recipe! Super easy and everyone was shocked at the flavor only being water and tomato paste. The only question I have is when you add the kale at the end, do you add it with all of the water that it was boiling in or do you drain it? THANKS!


SOOOO yummy! Added diced carrots, white northern beans, onion. I didn’t pre-cook my kale, just threw it in on top of the pork chops before covering, the 15 minute steam made them tender with a slight crunch.


I googled pork chop and kale and this came up first, and then I see it is my friend Andy’s wife’s blog. Even better. We have kale from Barber’s Farm in Schoharie County, garlic from Corbin Hill Road Farm,a lso Schoharie, and pork chops from Costco of East Harlem. Oh yeah, tomato paste from Eataly. Read Set Cook.


I don’t even care much for pork and I LOVED this!!! Will be making it again. Thanks!!


I made this last night; it’s the first time I ever had kale! This was delicious. Thank you for the recipe!


This dish was delicious! I stumbled across your blog yesterday through Shutterbean and got sucked in. I’m now planning to cook meals from your blog for the rest of the week. 🙂

Anyway, I love how this pork and kale turned out. I added white beans to mine and I just rinsed the beans before adding them in with the rest of the kale. I had more leftover liquid than I expected, but found that it gave everything great flavor. Also, I still can’t figure out how to not overcook pork. One day. One day.


I’m not a total newbie to cooking, but I just didn’t find this as easy as everyone else. I think some more specifics on the instructions would help me.

1. How much water and how much salt for the salted water for the kale? I think I might of had too much water and then in the end my stuff was soupy. That could be too because I added the water with the kale. See question #3.

2. Do you mince the garlic or just put in a big clove?

3. In the end, do you add the kale and the water or do you drain off the water and just add the kale? I think now it is just the kale.

I liked this, but I think I can do it better!


I make this recipe about once a month. It is easy, fast, and delicious – and healthy! Emily, yes, you drain the kale (not explicitly mentioned) but reserve 1 cup of the water as explained in the recipe. Thanks DALS!