In Defense of a "Rustic Chop"

If you have ever watched a reality cooking show, you may have heard the criticism "Your elements aren't cut to the same size." This is usually accompanied by the judges picking out a few veggies of varying sizes and them explaining  that if they were all the same size, then they would have cooked at the same rate and have been the same level of done-ness. That is all fine and good, and when you are a trained chef or work in a restaurant that is what is expected of you. I'm none of those things, just a lady who loves to eat and cook. So with that disclaimer, I'm here to defend what I call a "rustic chop."

I have no idea if this is even a real thing, or if its just me being silly, but what cooking 'experts' would call out as being poor knife skills or attention to detail, I love! Have you ever gotten a fork or spoon full of a bunch of goodies and some are soft and some a little more firm and it's just a great feeling and mix of textures? That is why I love a rustic chop. It is when you don't cut all your veggies or whatever into perfectly matching pieces. You have some that are bigger so they cook slower and are more firm in the final product. Some pieces will be smaller and turn out softer. Depending on how you cook things, you may get some with crunch and extra seasoning too.

Ever picked through your plate to find the perfect piece of veggie to go with your protein? You skip over a few different ones to find what you are craving, soft, firm, tender, some extra caramelization maybe for some crunch? That is a benefit to a rustic chop. You can have a little different experience with each bite. With all the components being the same texture and done-ness, it's boring! But that is just my humble opinion.

The best example I have for using a rustic chop is with squash. I adore butternut squash, it's one of the few things I like about fall/winter (I told you, I just love food...). I usually will just chop it up, rustically ;) , and then roast it. Big chunks, little chunks, medium chunks, I purposefully don't make them all perfect. The outcome is this mass of lovely goodness. Some are a little firm, and others turn into mush when your fork hits it. I LOVE THAT. Butternut squash also caramelizes beautifully when roasted, so when some bits have that and some don't, it takes the flavor to a whole other level.

So, in defense of a "rustic chop", it's great. Next time you are chopping up things for dinner, give yourself a break and let your dish have some "imperfections." Your tastes buds, and stress level will thank you!