Pork chops with cranberry stuffing

stuffed pork chops

In this day of escalating food prices, pork chops are still often on sale at very good prices.  When I see them on sale, I’ll by a large family pack, divide them into meal-size portions and freeze them.  The day before I decide to cook a batch, I’ll take one bag out of the freezer and leave it into the fridge to defrost for dinner.  Tonight’s dinner was pork chops with cranberry stuffing and broccoli with chickpeas and roasted red peppers.

Pork chops

  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ½ chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, soaked in hot water, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (or crushed croutons, if you use pre-seasoned croutons such as “stove-top stuffing” substitute water for the chicken broth)
  • 1 tbsp finely minced rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • salt
  • 3 8-oz bone-in pork chops about 1 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup fruity dry red wine (I used an inexpensive Argentinian Malbec)
  • Rosemary sprigs

 Cook onion and celery in broth in a small sauce pan or skillet over medium heat.  When vegetables are soft, turn off heat; add cranberries, bread crumbs, and rosemary.  Stir until well mixed –  if you need to add a little more broth or water to get the right “stuffing consistency” do so in small increments.  Add a generous amount of ground pepper.  Set aside to cool until you can touch it without burning your hands.

 Rinse pork chops and blot dry.  Lay chops flat on cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, cut a “pocket” in each chop parallel to the cutting board.  Cut all the way to the bone and up to ½ inch to the edge of either end of the chop (if the chop is semi-frozen, it’s easier to handle).  Stuff pockets with stuffing.  Press layers together.  You can close the opening with toothpicks to prevent the stuffing from falling out, or simply handle the chops carefully.  Lightly salt and pepper top side of pork chops.

 Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the chops without crowding.  When oil is hot, use a large pancake turner to carefully transfer each chop to the skillet.  Brown chops lightly (about 3 minutes) and then, using the pancake turner and tongs, carefully turn each chop over to brown the other side.  Salt and pepper other side.  Don’t let the stuffing fall out.  After about another 3 minutes, carefully lift the chops out and set them on a platter.  Add wine to the skillet and stir well.  Carefully return chops to the pan, turn heat to medium low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, basting meat occasionally with pan juices (add a little water, 1 tbsp at a time, if skillet goes completely dry), until mean reads 155 degrees  F on a meat thermometer or are just barely pink (FYI at the stage you don’t have to worry about trichinosis any more.  Don’t let the chops get totally white, dry and tough – they should still be juicy).  Lift out and place on plates.  Pour any extra pan juices over chops and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

 Broccoli with chick peas and roasted red peppers

  •  1 cup broccoli florettes
  • ¼ cup canned chick peas, drained
  • ¼ cup sliced roasted red pepper*at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove smashed but whole
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard.

 While the chops are cooking, bring a steamer pot of water to boil.  Put the broccoli and chick peas in a steamer basket.  When the water comes to boil, place the covered steam basket over the pot and steam vegetables about 3 minutes, or until broccoli is crisp-tender and bright green.  Do not over cook; it should be al dente. While broccoli is steaming, whisk together vinegar, garlic, olive oil and mustard into a vinaigrette.  When broccoli/chick peas are done, remove garlic from vinaigrette and toss all vegetables in a bowl with vinaigrette. Add to plates.   Serve barely warm or at room temperature for best flavor.

 *Roasted red peppers can be found jarred and relatively inexpensively in many stores such as Trader Joes and Cost Plus.  When red peppers are in season and cheap, you can also roast your own and freeze them.  Cut large red peppers lengthwise  into quarters; remove core and seeds.  Press sections flat and place them on a broiler pan, set as close to the broiler element as possible.  Broil until skin blisters and has some black spots.  Place peppers in a plastic bag to steam for about 10 minutes.  Peel off and discard skin. 

3 servings – this may be an odd number but I make two chops for John and one for myself.  These chops are not good as leftovers, they go tough when reheated, so don’t plan on having any.

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