Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pork "Chopped"

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.

This time, I sliced open the chops and filled them with a quick apple stuffing made with several other items from the “mystery basket” of found items hiding around the kitchen. I sautéed the chops in butter and olive oil, then added apple juice and maple syrup to the pan to make a sauce with the leftover drippings.

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 ( 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.


Foodtographer said...

WOW! YUM! This sounds and looks so good. This is a must do for me. I've been out of posting in a bit due to Life happenings but this gets me back into it again. Thanks.

Sandra said...

Ohh this sounds fantastic Marisa..I love how you made this and it does look so deliclious!!!

Claudia said...

Pork chops are a natural for maple, fruit and mustard flavors. This recipe has it all and this is the opposite of the dry, tasteless pork chop from the days of yore. It just beckons.

Karen said...

Oh boy, haven't we all been there with the overcooked, gray pork chop??? I don't know why pork chops are so hard to cook! I've messed a few up myself.
But this? This is fantastic! I love the apple stuffing. And bring on the pink pork please...I cannot handle it when people want their pork well done! The horror!!1

Healthy Mamma said...

So funny, I was just thinking about this topic a lot today. Honestly, do I have to go to the stinking store again? I'm sure if I took inventory of all the miscellaneous crap I have I can find something err respectable for dinner!
We don't eat pork chops around here very much at all so when we do I get big high 5's from da boys. I could def go for this version! Well done on being creative!
Oh, and I'll most def vote for you!
{vote for me on babble if you please:}

Victoria said...

That's definitely not Shake n Bake ;-) I love creating fun dishes from the "mystery basket" of my kitchen, and especially love it when the results are super yummy!

Juliana said...

Oh! Your pork chops look yummie, specially with the fruity stuffing. Very tempting...have a great week ahead Marisa :-)


What a great flavor combination! Love it. :)

Mother Rimmy said...

Thanks for the tip on cooking temperatures. I'm a big fan of stuffing pork and chicken. The presentation is so pretty, and how simple is that!

Love this post. Very cute!