Introduction: APPLE CRANBERRY DATE STUFFED PORK CHOPS
Grand Prize in the
Cooking for One Challenge
- Whether you eat one and freeze one, or invite a guest to dinner, these hearty baked pork chops make an excellent dish for a special occasion.
- PS - They are gluten-free, too, since the cornbread used in the stuffing came from left-over gluten-free corn muffins!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS (2 SERVINGS)
2 Thick-Cut Pork Chops, Bone-in (3/4 to 1 lb each)
FOR THE STUFFING:
- 1/2 cup Apple Juice
- 1/2 cup Cranberry Juice
- 1 TBS Dried Apples, coarsely chopped
- 1 TBS Pitted Dates, coarsely chopped
- 1 TBS Dried Cranberries or Craisins
- 1 TBS Pecans, coarsely chopped
- *4 TBS Cornbread, toasted and crumbled
- *NOTE: Since I had some homemade left-over gluten-free corn muffins in the freezer, I defrosted several; cut the crowns or tops off so that they would fit into the toaster. Then I toasted and crumbled 2 of them into a mixing bowl. Although I did not accurately measure the results, I believe I got about 4 TBS of crumbles and that seemed to be enough for the stuffing mix (I ate the crowns and the other two muffins while preparing this recipe)!
FOR THE RUB:
- 1/4 teaspoon each Dried, Rosemary, Sage, Savory & Thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground Black Pepper
- 2 TBS Shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 TBS Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
Step 2: PREPARATION (STEP 1 OF 4)
- Preheat a heavy non-stick frying pan or cast iron skillet (my preference) over medium-high heat.
- Trim and remove any excess fat from Pork Chops.
- Cut a long thin slit into each chop, cutting from the fleshy side through to the bone; then carefully widen the "slot" to the left, and then to the right, thus creating a "pocket." Be careful not to cut through the top, bottom, or sides of the chops.
- Drizzle the chops with a little olive oil and rub it all over them.
- Add chops to hot frying pan and brown each side (about 2 minutes per side)
- Remove the pan from the heat and place the browned pork chops on a dish so that they can cool enough to be handled.
Step 3: PREPARATION (STEP 2 OF 4 STEPS)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the stuffing while the browned pork chops are cooling and the oven is heating.
- Heat the fruit juices to a simmer in a small sauce pan.
- Add the Chopped apple slices and dried cranberries to the juice; cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and add the chopped dates; let stand for 5 minutes.
- If you have not already done so, crumble the toasted cornbread into a medium-sized mixing bowl..
- Drain the fruit mixture, reserving the liquid, and add the fruit and pecans to the crumbled cornbread.
- Thoroughly mix the stuffing ingredients, adding just enough of the reserved liquid to lightly moisten. Continue to reserve the remaining fruit juice..
Step 4: PREPARATION (STEP 3 & 4)
PREPARE THE RUB:
Add 2 TBS of Olive Oil to a small mixing bowl and stir in the sliced shallots and herbs and spices.
Stuff the Pork Chops:
- Spoon equal amounts of the stuffing mixture into the pocket of each pork chop.
- Keep pockets closed with toothpicks or bamboo skewers if necessary.
- Place the stuffed chops on top of a *rack in a ceramic or glass baking dish and cover with the mixture of Shallots and spices.
- **Add the 1/2 cup of Wine to the reserved fruit juices; pour a small amount into the bottom of the baking dish and reserve the rest for basting.
- NOTE: At the last minute I discovered that I did not have a wire rack that would fit into the baking dish I intended to use, so I made one by tightly rolling strips of heavy aluminum foil.
- NOTE: Uncooked stuffing can quickly spoil; either bake, freeze, or discard any stuffing not used here (fortunately, the stuffing I made was just enough to pack into the two chops).
The more that I cook with wine, the more often I think of the late Julia Child - and I have a sip (or two) for her each time I open a bottle!
Step 5: BAKE THE PORK CHOPS
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover the dish, baste with the wine & juice mixture and continue to cook uncovered for another *30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of thickest part of each chop (until the stuffing) reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit
*(I like to baste the baking pork chops again after they have cooked uncovered for 15 or 20 minutes).
Step 6: TIME TO EAT . . .
- A lovely baked stuffed pork chop; a nice summer salad, and a chilled glass of wine - who could ask for more.
Here's to you, Julia Child!
Step 7: NUTRITION
NUTRITION: I have estimated the nutritional value of this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer (click on the image to enlarge)
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