Sometimes stepping into the kitchen can be like walking into an episode of Food Network’s Chopped.
Whatever is sitting in your cabinets and stocked on your refrigerator’s shelves—that’s your mystery basket. Maybe you haven’t gone food shopping in a while? Bring on the extra challenge.
No matter how random the revealed ingredients might be, the goal is to turn them into a winning ten thousand dollar recipe (wouldn’t that be nice?). Point is, you want it to taste good.
Of course, your family/friends are the judges; and their hunger is the only ticking clock needed to get you on your toes and moving towards the finish line.
So what was in my most recent mystery basket? Dun dun dunn: pork chops. More commonly known around here as, “Ugh, pork chops…(sigh).”
I can’t help it, pork chops will forever be tainted by memories of being dry, tasteless, and Shake n’ Baked. In theory, they are an easy weeknight meal, and yet, they are so easy to screw up.
Nevertheless, I continue to give pork chops a shot, only I refuse to let them be boring. Even when it seems like there is nothing left in the house, I am determined to find a way to make them delicious.
The “judges” approved, and so did I, making me recipient to the theoretical ten thousand dollar prize and the rights to say that this recipe is WINNING. Duh.
So if you’re looking for something good to make during the week, and you too, refuse to be bored by the same old, plain old pork chop, try this recipe!
Remember: do not be afraid of a little pink in your pork chop; if you are, you will forever be doomed to a dry, tasteless hunk of meat. Trichinosis, the parasite associated underdone pork, dies at 137 degrees Fahrenheit. If the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re good.
P.S. Please nominate my blog (http://www.cooksbookblog.com) for Saveur Magazine's 2011 Best Food Blog Awards in the "best cooking blog" category. It's worth a shot! Thanks so much for your support, I really appreciate it. :)
Apple and Mustard Stuffed Pork Chops with Maple Pan Sauce
Yield: 4 Servings
- 4-6 boneless pork chops
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon separate
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon separate
- 2 celery sticks, small dice
- 1 large shallot, small dice
- 1 golden delicious apple, small dice
- 1 cup apple juice, divided
- 1 cup plain breadcrumb or panko
- 2 ½ tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup maple syrup
- Flour for thickening
• Slide knife sideways into the middle of each pork chop and butterfly; make sure not to slice all the way through. Cover the opened chops with a Ziploc bag and lightly pound. Season the chops with salt and pepper on each side.
• In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together over medium heat. Add celery and shallots and sweat. Add apples and cook until soft. Pour in ½ cup apple juice, add mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and slowly incorporate the breadcrumb until everything is bound together well.
• Fill each of the pork chops with stuffing. To secure, pinch the largest side together and weave a toothpick through.
• In a clean skillet, heat tablespoon of butter and olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the pork chops until nicely browned and cooked through; about 6-7 minutes on each side.
• Remove the pork chops from the pan and reserve covered or in a warm place. Remember to remove the toothpicks from the pork chops before serving.
• Over medium high heat, deglaze the pan with remaining apple juice, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon; add maple syrup. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. To lightly thicken the sauce whisk in a tablespoon or two of flour.