ROMEO CONCA'S PORK CHOPS AND KALE

ROMEO CONCA'S PORK CHOPS AND KALE ``It's simple and foolproof and ridiculously good,'' says Lane Morgan of this recipe from her ``Winter Harvest Cookbook.''

Kale

1 pork chop per diner

dry mustard

black pepper

salt

olive oil

garlic, chopped (1 clove for every 2 chops)

Wash kale and remove any heavy stems. Pat pork chops dry. Dust one side lightly with dry mustard and grind on some pepper.

Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and heat to the smoking point. Salt the spiced side of the chops and cook, seasoned side down, until lightly browned. Salt top sides and turn.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until chops feel firm to the touch. Sprinkle in garlic and add as much kale as will fit in the pan. You can really cram it in. Drizzle in a little more olive oil and cover with tight-fitting lid. Lower heat to simmer and cook until kale is limp. Cooking time will vary with the maturity of the kale.

POTAGE CR'ECY

``This soup takes its name from a town in France known for its particularly tasty carrots,'' writes Sarah Leah Chase in ``Cold-Weather Cooking.'' ``I first learned to make it from a French teacher when I was away at boarding school. I recently revived my tattered copy of that original recipe, for this puree of carrot soup, for all its simplicity and purity, remains a cherished favorite.''

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 large onion, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup raw white rice

2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) chicken broth, preferably homemade

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces

1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy or whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Carrot curls for garnish

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saut'e 5 minutes. Blend in the tomato paste, then add the rice, and stir to coat with the butter.

Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Add the carrots and simmer uncovered until the carrots are very tender, about 40 minutes. Cool, then pur'ee the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Return to a clean stockpot, season with salt and pepper, and swirl in the cream. Reheat the soup and serve it hot, garnished with a fresh carrot curl. Makes 10 to 12 one-cup servings.

HOT CHOCOLATE

``Hot chocolate ... is characterized by a rich, sweet flavor and velvety texture, while cocoa is brisker and thinner, with a cleaner, sharper presence on the tongue,'' writes John Thorne in ``Simple Cooking'' (New York: Viking Penguin, 1987, $9.95 paper).

Scant pint of milk

1 three-ounce bar imported chocolate (either milk chocolate or semisweet)

Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into a small, thick-bottomed pot. Break the chocolate into small bits and add to the milk in the pot. Over very low heat, let the chocolate melt, then pour in the rest of milk, bit by bit, whisking well with each addition. When the chocolate is melted and the milk faintly steaming, remove from the heat, beat vigorously with a whisk until frothy, and serve. Serves 2.

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