One-Handed Pork Chops

I’ve been neglecting the blog again, and yet I keep taking photos of what we’re making and planning out my posts, so I’m going to try and play catch-up this week. Actually, I had a legitimate excuse for the first few days: a silly cooking-related injury.

I decided to make stuffed pork chops for dinner one night. I’ve done rolls and stuffed thin cutlets, but I’d never stuffed a piece of meat pocket-style before, so this was a first, and I was very pleased with the result of my knife skills. I was able to keep the side opening an inch or less wide, so that it could be easily resealed with a single toothpick. Once the seared chops were in the oven to finish cooking, I started in on some Marcella-style green beans with Parmesan, parboiling and then setting them in cold water. By that time, the pork was cooked. I set the skillet of chops back on the stovetop, grabbed the colander of drained beans, and turned around to deposit them in another pan on the back burner, grabbing the handle of the skillet with my left hand to move it out of my way.

Stuffed pork chops

You can see where I’m going with this. I’m usually very good about getting out my silicone handle cover, but I was being absent-minded, and before I knew it, my hand was alight with pain. I (quite literally single-handedly) finished off the pan-sauce for the chops and a very simplified version of the green beans while gripping a big bag of ice cubes for dear life in my throbbing hand, but had no appetite anymore, not to mention insufficient means of cutting into a big pork chop, generally a two-handed operation. The chops and green beans ended up in the fridge for a few days, before I could muster up enough good will to tackle them again.

Since I’m not a fan of reheated meat, I didn’t bother trying to reheat the chops whole. Instead, I diced them up into chunks (fondly admiring my stuffing handiwork in the process, as you can see from the top photo), and reheated that with the remains of the pan sauce and green beans, adding some chicken stock and a splash of cream to get a more fluid consistency. Served over farfalle, it was a satisfying conclusion to a painful experience. And believe you me, it’s an experience I don’t intend to duplicate anytime soon, stuffed pork chops or no.

Stuffed pork chop pasta

Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops

I used thick boneless chops from Costco for this recipe, shallots in place of onion, and some rather stale whole wheat sandwich bread because it happened to be on hand. My mushrooms were a mix of dried mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped, and I ended up not needing all the filling for that number of chops, probably because I seriously doubt I could have shoved 1/2 C of filling into a single chop.

4 pork loin center chops boneless or bone-in, trimmed
3 T vegetable oil
1 C cubed (1/4-inch) bread
1 onion, chopped
2 C thinly sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
2 T minced fresh parsley
1/2 C white wine or chicken stock
1 C sodium-reduced chicken stock
1 T all-purpose flour
1 T butter, softened

Slash edges of pork chops to prevent curling. With knife held horizontally and starting at rounded edge, cut wide pocket in each chop. Set aside.

In large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 T of oil over medium heat; fry bread, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the remaining oil to skillet; fry onion, mushrooms, garlic and half each of the salt and pepper over medium-high heat until onion is softened and mushrooms are golden, about 6 minutes. Add to bread along with parsley. Let cool. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Stuff about 1/2 cup of the stuffing into pocket of each chop. Secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.

In skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; brown chops. Transfer skillet to 400°F oven; roast until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, about 15 minutes. Remove to platter; remove toothpicks and tent with foil.

Add wine to skillet and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring and scraping up any brown bits; boil until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add stock; bring to boil. In small bowl, blend flour with butter; whisk into stock and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

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