Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stuffed Pork Chops with Apples

Just a grand experiment that turned out pretty darn grand.

A few notes:
a) It's multi-step, and I know it looks like a lot, but it’s not too intensive. I started cooking at 4:47 and was finished at 5:22. Yes, I like to time myself. Because I’m racing myself. Because that way, I always win. It’s a rich life, and it’s mine.
b) I used one skillet for everything because I didn’t feel like slaving over a sinkful of dishes. Feel free to use different skillets if you’re one of those kids who doesn’t like your foods to touch. No judgment here.

Pork chops:
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 center-cut pork chops
Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground rosemary
Black pepper
1 large loaf Cuban bread (or other sturdy or slightly stale bread), torn into small pieces
1 cup chicken stock

3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 medium Northern Spy apples, cored and sliced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

In a large skillet with high sides, brown pork chops (seasoned with salt and pepper) in olive oil over high heat for 5-6 minutes or until browned on both sides. Don’t start chopping apples and get distracted like some of us (eyes cast downward, muttering)… some of us. Remove chops to a platter and cover with foil. Do not wipe out your skillet.

Skillet-cooked pork chops are difficult to make pretty. So pile junk on top of them. Win.

Lower heat to medium. Melt butter and oil in skillet, then add onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Sweat everything for about 10 minutes, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the bread (I like to let the bread toast in the skillet for a few minutes.. mmm), then add the chicken stock and combine thoroughly. Remove stuffing to a bowl and cover. Wipe out the skillet. (I found that the pork left behind enough salty yum that I didn't need to add salt to the stuffing; taste and add if you need to).

Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, then add apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have released juice and are very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Place a handful of stuffing on a pork chop. Top with apple mixture.

Attractive? No. Delicious? Yes. Barely sweet, just enough savory, good stuff.

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