Fall is pork season. Bacon, sausage, pork chops, it’s all delicious. It’s also creeping up on final’s season at Columbia, which means final projects! yay! Last night I combined the two fall standards, coercing a friend into helping me with my Spanish project by way of pork-stuffed-pork and a few Brooklyn Brewery Lagers.
This recipe is definitely not the least labor intensive, as it has a few steps along the way, but it’s actually quite simple and the result is a delicious stuffed pork chop that is special enough for anyone you feel like celebrating…or someone you’re bribing…two categories which often overlap on the venn diagram of life.
The stuffing is a true ode to fall with apples, cranberries, bacon, apple cider, shallot, and dijon mustard to give a little spicy kick. Be sure to buy the thickest pork chops you can find, as they’ll be easier to slice and ensure a good stuffing-to-pork ratio. While thin pork chops are fine for lots of stuff, here a thin chop risks overcooking and drying out, so I’m serious when I say “go thick.”
I served the sliced chops (count for about 1/2-3/4 chop per person) over crispy baby brussels sprouts roasted with bacon and brown sugar, fluffy quinoa, and a simple sauce made by whisking butter into reduced port. It’s fruity depth rounds out a perfectly balanced dish!
Stuffed Pork Chops (Serves 3-4)
- 2 center cup pork chops (1.5″-2″ thick)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup apple, diced into 1/4″ cubes
- 1/8 cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water and drained
- 1 tbsp apple cider
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (fat reserved)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp salt (plus more for seasoning)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1.5 cups room temperature water in a medium, non-reactive bowl. Add pork chops and add more water (if needed) until the chops are just covered. Soak chops in brine for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Sautee shallot in reserved bacon fat over medium heat. Once translucent and beginning to brown, add garlic, cranberries, and apples. Add apple cider and stir to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Add bacon, parsley, and panko to the bowl. Combine gently and season to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Pat pork chops dry and slice a ‘pocket’ into each chop with a pairing knife. Spoon approximately 1/3 cup stuffing into each pocket, handling gently.
- Sear chops on each side over high medium/heat in an oven-safe pan, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer pan to the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan, basting butter over the chops, remove to a cutting board to rest.
- Add remaining stuffing to the hot pan, toasting until browned.
- Slice chops cross-wise with a sharp knife. Serve over quinoa and crispy brussels sprouts with a port wine and butter sauce. Top with toasted leftover stuffing.