How to Prepare Stuffed Pork Chops
Stuffed pork chops are easy to make and let you combine some of your favorite ingredients. Last night I stuffed them with some apple, Maple sausage and pine nuts. The results were superb.
My buddy, Barbecue Bob and I often go to the farmer's market in Ardmore on Saturday mornings early before everyone else arrives. Our first stop is always Stoltzfus Meats where Bob picks up his weeks worth of ingredients for grilling and smoking.
The employees know him by name and this week asked him if his wife's "Smoking Ban" was over. Need I say more?
Stolzfus Meats started out in 1958 producing fresh smoked meats and over time expanded their business to include a selection of quality fresh meats but they are famous for their award winning old fashioned sweet bologna, fresh country sausage, boneless hams and bacon. And let's not forget their scrapple.
As you can see, they specialize in pork. Although they do sell beef and lamb, I go there for their fresh-butchered pork like the pork chops I stuffed last night.
The apple maple sausage I used for stuffing was also a Stoltzfus product and are great grilled by themselves served with grainy mustard and applesauce.
Stuff Them Yourself
Stolzfus Meats sold great looking stuffed pork chops but I wanted control over what I put in mine. Most times you'll find stuffed anything has a lot of breadcrumbs.
Not that there is anything wrong with breadcrumbs, but my wife is not eating bread at this time so I left it out. Besides, you pay more to have someone else stuff them for you so why not do it yourself?
My pork chops were a little thin for stuffing but I managed. 1½ inches thick would have been easier to work with.
I could have asked the butcher to make the pockets for me and they would be happy to do so. Even if you buy your meats at a supermarket, never hesitate to ask the butcher to make special cuts for you. That's why they are there.
Stuffed Pork Chops Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 350º F.
- Start with the stuffing so it has time to cool down before you get to stuffing the chops. Remove the sausage meat from the casing and quickly brown in a small skillet.
- While the sausage is browning, finely chop the apple into a small dice.
- When the sausage is done browning, add the toasted pine nuts and apple and cook for a minute or two. Let this cool down while you prep the pork chops.
Prepping the Pork Chops
- Using a boning knife or utility knife, cut a pocket into each pork chop. Basically you are butterflying them or splitting them down the middle being sure to leave a thin connection on the sides to create a pocket.
- When the stuffing is cool enough to handle, spoon some in to each chop and use tooth picks to hold them closed. I get my toothpicks ready before I start because you are handling raw pork.
- Also, I like to break the toothpicks in half so I don't have them sticking so far out on the ends. Some people use kitchen string to make a neat little pork package, but I don't find it necessary. If some spills out, so be it.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Cooking the Chops
- Heat a pan that is big enough to hold all four pork chops over medium high heat. If your pan is going to be crowded with the four chops, only brown two at a time. Then when all four chops are browned, you can cram them all into the pan. But they must sit flat; they can't be on top of each other.
- When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil. Once the butter and oil are hot, add two of the chops and brown. Takes about 1 - 2 minutes per side.
- Remove and reserve on a plate and then brown the other two chops. When done, remove and reserve and deglaze the pan with some wine, port, or a little chicken stock.
- If using anything with alcohol, be careful. I like to remove the pan from the heat to prevent the alcohol from igniting. Not a problem if you are using chicken stock or a fruit juice.
- After deglazing the pan, return the chops to the pan and place in the oven until the pork chops reach your desired internal temperature. If you cook it medium-well, pork's ideal temperature, you are looking for a temperature of about 155º F to 165º F which means you should remove it from the oven at 150º F to 155ºF since the meat will continue to cook as it rests.
- How long this takes really depends on your oven but I think I cooked them for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the chops from the oven and while they are resting you can start plating your side dishes.