January 21, 2010

Stuffed Pork Chops

up close


I grew up eating pork chops -my parents made them nearly every week.  While I still like pork chops, my family is not so fond of them except when I make this dish.  These pork chops are flavorful with the stuffing though I do not pack mine full of stuffing - just enough to moisten the meat and notch up the flavor of an otherwise bland meat.  The lemon thyme pan sauce is a delicious accompaniment.  As a general rule, I brine all my pork chops as I find supermarket pork lacking in flavor and tenderness.  My simple but effective brine method is a combination of sugar, salt and water.

Stuffed Pork Chops
serves 4

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion chopped fine
1 finely chopped rib of celery
¼ salt
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 slices or 2 cups of better quality bread cubed (small cubes or rough fresh crumbs) placed in medium bowl
3 tablespoons heavy cream
pepper to taste
4 pork chops (I used center thicker cut boneless and bone in chops - 3-4 pounds)
3 or 4 tablespoons oil for searing

Heat oven to 450°F.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add onions, celery and soft cooking until softened.
Stir in the herbs and garlic and cook until fragrant 40 seconds or so.
Remove from heat and toss with bread, cream and pepper pressing until mixture comes together.
Cut a pocket along long edge of chop (I make an incision along edge then use my knife to cut a pocket without disturbing the outer edge in order to hold the bread mixture). Stuff each chop equally.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a sauté pan and brown the chops on both sides until brown (5 minutes).
Transfer to baking dish and bake until center of stuffing reaches 135°F (around 18 minutes depending on your oven).
Turn chops half way through.
You can cook your chops until they reach the internal temperature of 145°F or remove when the stuffing reaches temperature and put the chops on a plate tenting with foil (they will continue to 'cook' under the foil).
Use saute pan to make a pan sauce if desired.

Lemon Thyme Pan Sauce

2 teaspoons oil
1 shallot or ¼ onion minced
1½ cups of chicken broth
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons of chilled butter in 3 pieces

Add oil to skillet that you sauteed your chops in and heat to shimmering.
Add shallots or onions and cook until softened.
Stir in thyme until fragrant.
Add broth scraping up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and simmer until thickened about 5 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice and additional pork juice from the plate of cooked pork chops.
Turn heat low and whisk in 1 at a time the butter pieces.
Do not add a new piece of butter until the one before it mixed in.
Take your time so as not to break the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper.

stuffed pork chops

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