Can you tell we’ve been busy? This is the first post in almost two weeks! More than two weeks? I don’t remember. Anyway, pork always brings people around, so salivate over these stuffed pork chops and forgive us for being slack!
We bought the pork from Harris Teeter a couple of weeks ago and when Alfonso went to pound them out for stuffing the other day, we realized that we had frozen them. So after a fridge defrost for a couple of days, we were in business.
To be honest, I prefer when we can get to an actual butcher for our meat. Ted’s Butcherblock downtown is our favorite, but we haven’t been able to make it there in a while. It’s for sure time to restock the freezer.
This week I wanted to do recipes that used some of our favorite kitchen tools too, so for the pork recipe we used our ADORABLE baby cast iron pans and to make the chop “rollable” we used our handy dandy meat pounder. We got the cast iron pans and the meat pounder at a local kitchen supply store, but you can find some good versions of the same things here and here. Obviously you can use a regular cast iron pan instead of four baby ones, but I’m a sucker for all things individually portioned so I couldn’t resist.
The stuffed pork chops sound/look like a pain to make, but start to finish it took us only about 20-30 minutes. The filling can be made a day or two in advance, too. The apples and the onions in the filling together with the salty pork give this dish an umami-like flavor.
We served the chops with a mixed green salad on the side and some delicious potato gratin. This was the first time either one of us had made stuffed pork chops (weird?) and potato gratin from scratch. We will be repeating. And repeating. And repeating.
Goat Cheese, Apple, and Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops
*the recipe uses a large cast iron pan, but I did it in 4 individual pans for cuteness
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cups of baby spinach, packed
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 pork chops, trimmed and deboned
6 oz. goat cheese, softened
1/2 granny smith apple, small diced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
4 T heavy cream
2 T lemon juice
more salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 T oil in a non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until tender and slightly golden. Add the spinach and cook down. When spinach has cooked down, add the garlic and mix in for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Place a pork chop between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and using the meat pounder, pound out until 1/8 inch thick. This is very thin. Set aside. Next, mix the goat cheese, spinach mixture, apple, salt and pepper together. Take one of the flattened pork chops and put 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture at the larger end of the chop. Roll carefully and secure with a tooth pick. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a cast iron pan big enough for all 4 rolled chops over high heat- we’re going to sear! When the oil is very hot, but not quite smoking add the pork chops, seam side up first. Sear 2-3 minutes, until golden and flip. The pretty side should be up and the seam side should be down. Sear for 1-2 more minutes then put the cast iron pan directly in to the oven. Cook until middle most part of rolled chop is 145°F, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
To make the pan sauce remove the chops and set aside on a plate, covered. Heat the cast iron over medium-high heat and add the chicken stock. Let simmer and reduce by half- this shouldn’t take too long. When reduced, remove from heat and add the heavy cream. Add back the rolled chops to the pan and sprinkle with the lemon juice and the juices accumulated on the plate. Serve with potato gratin and a mixed green salad.
Like I said before, we made a potato gratin to accompany the salty and sweet (apples!) stuffed pork chops. We definitely have a love affair with potatoes in this house. So cheap, so versatile, so easy to cook with, and I literally don’t think I know ANYONE who doesn’t love a potato. You can assemble the gratin ahead of time (even the day before) and pop it in the oven an hour before dinner. Once you make this you will never buy those potatoes au gratin in a box from the store again. (Because we’ve alllllll bought that box at some point in time, right? Just look at the chemicals in it next time you see them in the store- bleh.)
3 medium-large russet potatoes, peeled
2 T butter, divided
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 heaping T flour
1 cup milk, warmed
1 t salt
1 t pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg
3/4 cup parmesan reggiano cheese, freshly grated, divided
1.25 cups gruyère cheese, freshly grated, divided
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
Start by slicing your potatoes very thinly (<1/8 inch) and as uniform as possible. This is easiest with a mandolin if you have one. If not, a knife will be just fine. They should be in complete circles. Set them aside.
Heat 1 T butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until they are soft and slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and stir around to mix with the onions for about 1 minute. Add 1 T of butter to the pan. As it melts mix with the veggies. When melted, add the flour and mix well. Let the flour cook and toast for 1-2 minutes and then slowly whisk in the warmed milk until a thick sauce is formed- 3-4 minutes. Don’t let it get too thick. Remove from heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, half of the parmesan, and 1 cup of the gruyère cheese. Mix well. Spread evenly into a buttered medium size casserole dish.
Mix the remaining cheese with the bread crumbs and sprinkle evenly on top of the potatoes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly, the top is golden, and the potatoes are tender. Let stand for 10 minutes and then dig in.
I promise it won’t be almost 2 weeks until we post again. Until next time: bake lots of Christmas goodies! What is your favorite dish that looks complicated, but is oh-so-easy? Share with us here or on Instagram @thecastejons.