Introduction: APPLE CRANBERRY DATE STUFFED PORK CHOPS
- 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)
Grand Prize in the
Cooking for One Challenge