Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stuffed Porkchops

Stuffing pork-chops is a great way to prepare them as the stuffing helps to retain moisture.Sealing them with breadcrumbs also helps.

2 x 1.5 inch thick Country Style pork chops with  pocket cut into them
Large cooking Apple
Ripe Fig(s)
1/2 onion
Lemon Juice
1 vegetable bullion pot (try not to use the cubes as they are just salt and crap)
seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
olive oil

To get this cut of meat you will almost undoubtedly have to visit a proper butcher. Whereas regular pork chops will have a long or T bone, these are cut further along and only have a small piece of bone. The meat itself will also be darker and more tender (at least in my opinion). I have them cut 1.5 inches thick so this is a substantial piece of meat and could easily feed 2 people but I like to cook generously and love my leftovers so I had 2 pieces cut, 1 per person, and a deep pocket cut in the chop for the stuffing.

For the stuffing I peeled and finely chopped 1/2 of a very large cooking apple which I then set aside in a bowl and sprinkled with lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. I then spooned out and chopped up the insides of a very rip fig and added this to the bowl of apple pieces. Finally I finely diced half a regular onion. I sautéed the onion in butter until translucent then added the vegetable bullion pot and let that melt into the onion. I add ~1/4 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs and allow that to soak up the butter then add some boiling water by eye until the breadcrumbs loosen up again, stirring al the time. Finally I add in the apple/fig mixture and give it a good stir to evenly distribute. 

You could stuff with other mixtures like apple/raisin/walnut. I work with whatever looks good at the greengrocer.

I then spoon the stuffing into the pocket. Just as when stuffing a bird, leave room for it to expand. I then take a few toothpicks and skewer the pocket closed.

Next I double dredge the pork chops. This means that I dredge the dry pork chops in flour, coating them well. I then immerse the floury chops in a 50/50 mix of egg and milk, then do a final coating in seasoned breadcrumbs.

At this point I have the oven pre-heating to 350/180 and a large pan on the stove with 2 tablespoons of butter and an equal amount of olive oil at medium heat.Test that the pan is heated by dripping some water in the pan. It should sizzle. Or drop some flour in and it should brown but not burn. So, when the temperature is right, add the pork chops to the pan and then don't touch them for 5 minutes. You want the breadcrumbns to form a hard golden brown crust, shading toward brown rather than gold. Then turn them over and repeat. This will seal in the moisture.

Transfer the chops to a deep baking tray (I use a metal one as they cook more quickly and efficiently than a ceramic dish) and cover/seal with foil. Pop this in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the chops are cooking I use the leftover apple to make some applesauce and prepare my vegetables. In this instance I made steamed cabbage and mashed potatoes but during the half hour baking time I just prepped the veg rather than cooking.

After 30 minutes I removed the foil and returned the dish to the oven to continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. In the meantime I cooked and mashed my potatoes and steamed the cabbage. Check the chops after 10 minutes. If they are cooked then remove from the oven and allow to rest on the dinner plates, otherwise turn off the heat and allow them to rest in the oven.