Monday, October 12, 2009

Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing

I bought some 2 inch thick cut pork chops from Karlios Hinkebein at Tower Grove Farmers Market a few months back and they've been sitting in the freezer all this time because, honestly, we don't eat meat portions that weigh in at over a pound a piece ever. Its just when I told him I wanted a couple of pork chops, he pulled two chops out of the freezer. One was a normal sized chop (5/8 inch thick) and one was a mammoth 2 inch chop. He was like "which one do you want?" And, while I was really wanting the 5/8 inch chop, the big one was calling to me. So I got two of each. The smaller chops were consumed right away, but I felt like the bigger chops had a higher purpose. Like they should be eaten for a special occasion. Well, the special occasion is upon us. Let's celebrate apple season.

The night before, I thawed the chops, then soaked them in a bath of water, salt, maple syrup, garlic, black pepper, and habenero. I actually took a salad plate and put it inside the bowl to weigh down the chops to ensure they were totally submerged. They spent the night in the fridge. When I started cooking, I pulled the chops out, rinsed them, patted them dry, and let them on the counter to lose some of the chill.

While the pork is coming closer to room temperature, I sliced some leftover ciabatta into little cubes.

Not a ton, just enough to stuff a couple of chops.

Toast in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes until dried out.

In a medium skillet, saute diced apple, diced celery, chopped green onion, garlic, some sage and parsley, a little bit of habenero pepper and some salt & pepper.

Add dried bread crumbs and chicken stock just to moisten it up a bit. Taste. Adjust seasonings.

Crank up the oven to 400 degrees, in anticipation of some pork roasting.
Cut a into the loin side of the chop, keeping knife parallel with the cutting board, making a little pocket inside the meat. Stuff with apple mixture. Pack it loosely, don't cram it all in there cause it expands when it cooks.

Rub a little bit of olive oil on both sides of chop and season with salt & pepper.

Heat a big skillet (with plenty of room for the chops) on medium high heat. Cook in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes. The chop should release easily from the pan after it forms a nice crust. A careful flip so I don't dump stuffing everywhere. Cook for a couple of minutes on the opposite side, then place the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes. (Before I put my chops in the oven, I sprinkled them with some garlic and put a couple of thin slices of butter on each piece. I mean, if we are gonna eat a pound of meat a piece, let's make these things truly decadent.)

I should tell you to cook it until the stuffing reaches 160 degrees probably. I didn't check my stuffing temperature. I'm not really scared of pork cooties because I have the utmost faith in the man who raised the piece of meat I am eating. I let them rest for about 5 minutes to give the juices a chance to redistribute.

I served them Peter Brady style with applesauce. This was The Captains chop. He ate the whole thing!

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