Pork Brassica

Winter reminds me of the brassica family of veggies

By MANDA HUDAK for the Flathead Beacon

Weather signals changes in season and our dining choices. Winter reminds me of the brassica family of veggies including cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and kohlrabi. My cold-weather flavor palate also craves warm smoked flavor, root veggies and a splash of acid in the form of apples, pears, cider, vinegar and citrus. This dish combines all these seasonal influences in an easy and delicious winter meal. You can use your favorite type of green cabbage from the traditional to Savoy or Napa varieties. We have fantastic local pork to enjoy here in the Flathead Valley; my favorite is from Farm to Market Pork right here in Kalispell. Serve the pork over a warm, savory slaw of onions, Brussels sprouts, root veggies with bacon, apples and mustard. I like to top it a sprinkle of crispy fried kale for a bit of crunch.



• 4 lb. pork roast

• Salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder to taste

• 1/2 medium onion, yellow, thinly sliced end to end

• 2 slices bacon, thick sliced cottage style

• 1/2 small cabbage, green, thinly sliced

• 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

• 1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced into coins

• 1 parsnip, peeled, thinly sliced into coins

• 1 apple, Macintosh, quartered and thinly sliced

• 2 cups apple cider, fresh (can be spiced)

• 2 Tbsp. mustard, Dijon or grain

• 1 cup chicken stock

• 4 Tbsp. butter, unsalted

• 4  leaves lacinato kale, thinly sliced

1. Season the roast with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Butterfly or sear as is and finish in a 350 F oven until internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and let sit five minutes to rest before slicing.

2. Heat just enough oil to coat heavy skillet to a light smoke. Add meat and turn to brown all sides.  Remove roast to roasting pan and finish in oven.  Set searing pan aside to make sauce after slaw.

3. While pork is cooking, cook bacon to render fat. Add onions and sweat to soften and release moisture. Add carrots and parsnips and cook to soften. Add cabbage and Brussels sprouts to wilt.  Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.

4. Add apples and cook to lightly soften. Add to Brussels mixture and season with salt and pepper.

5. Reheat searing skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken stock, cider and mustard. Bring to a simmer, stirring with wooden spoon to release browning from searing roast. Reduce by half. Add cold butter a piece at a time swirling pan to dissolve the butter and enrich the sauce.   

To serve, slice pork 1/3-1/2-inch thick and serve over warm slaw. Pour sauce over pork and top with crispy kale.

Manda Hudak is the Savory Chef Instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College.  For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.