Today, I have fun plans. I’m meeting a friend, and we’re going off for a morning of photography fun. It is my last day of my mini-vacation from work. It’s been a nice 3 days to relax, recharge, and start cooking/blogging again. But I’m ready to go back and to see if I can keep everything going again with work involved. Such fun.
Last night, I made these pork chops. And I can’t decide if they are good or not. Well, let me rephrase. They were good. I enjoyed eating this particular one. I have a few more in my fridge for upcoming meals. Don’t be surprised if you see one in Thursday’s bento lunch box. However, I think the stuffing can be improved I just don’t know how. I’m not one for mushy things, and stuffing, to me, always seemed a bit on the mushy side. Is it supposed to be? You tell me…
I’ve had this idea in my head for awhile, so figured why not give it a try. I had everything but the walnuts. That was easily taken care of on a recent trip to the grocery store. And the leftover walnuts were used in brownies for desert. YUM! I’ve listed this as a recipe since I am giving how-to. Please take it with a big cautionary note that I’m not sure if this stuffing is right. Comments and suggestions would be most welcome.
I started everything off by toasted an 8 oz bag of chopped walnuts. Only about a 1/3 of these were used in the stuffing. Another 1/3 (or so) were used in brownies for dessert. Which means, I have toasted walnuts leftover to do something fun with. What I don’t know. I also don’t know if they will last to do something fun with. I keep eating them (love toasted nuts!). Walnuts were toasted in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. When the walnuts become fragrant and a bit brown, take them out and taste one. If they taste all nice and toasty, voila!, they are ready.
While the walnuts toasted, I gathered my apples for slicing and dicing. While I pulled out 3, I only ended up needing two. In actuality, I could have used just 1 since I had alot of stuffing leftover in the end. These are Braeburn apples. I have no idea if another type would do or not, but I think any apple that is appropriate for baking would do nicely. I’ve used Braeburns to bake with before, and they do okay enough. I wouldn’t use Red Delicious as they don’t hold up so well in the oven. Or so I’ve found.
Two apples were diced to a small, thin size. Oh, and copious amounts were eaten while dicing. Because I’m always afraid to dice that last wee bit for fear of cutting off part of a finger. Once diced the apples were placed in a bowl of water with the juice of one lemon to prevent browning while the bread was prepared.
Next came the bread. I had the last remnants of a multi-grain bread in my freezer. I took out a few slices for the stuffing. I thought this might give a nice “nutty” flavor to the stuffing wholly different from the walnuts I planned to add. It certainly did. And while the bread got a bit mushy in the way that stuffing seems to get, it wasn’t near about as mushy as stuffing seems to normally be. It held its own quite nicely.
The bread was diced into 1/2″ cubes. Those pieces that seemed a wee bit too big were torn apart by hand. Oh, this bread. I love this bread. And it is what I did with this bread that I think is where I made my mistake. You’ll see in a minute.
Next, it was time to prep the pork chops. Here we have some nice thick chops, about 2 inches thick I think. I should have measured and totally forgot to. I purchase these at my local warehouse club (Sam’s Club). I think I pay about $13 for 9-10 thick, awesome chops. It is one of the better deals I think they have. I love pork chops like this.
Each pork chop is cut down the middle, but not cut completely through. It’s an almost butterfly I think. You want to leave one side of the pork chop intact so you can stuff the inside.
Now, let’s put two tablespoons of butter in our skillet. Let the butter melt, and the skillet heat to a nice medium temperature. It happens to be setting #4 on my particular electric stove. And let me just say, I am enjoying this stainless steel skillet I purchased. It’s awesome. I’m still having trouble with things sticking to the bottom of it, but clean-up is a breeze.
Once the butter is melted and bubbling slightly, it is time to get cooking. The bread misstep is coming soon. You’ll see.
Into the butter all those wonderful apples went. Things started to smell nicely right away. Once the apples sauteed a bit, I added the bread.
This is where I think I made my mistake. That bread soaked up every bit of liquid in the pan, of course. Something I didn’t think too hard about ahead of time. I hope I can convince myself to make this again in the future. If I do, I think I’d add just 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan (or a bit less) and toast those diced pieces of bread first. Then remove from the pan, add a bit more butter, and sautee the apple a bit. Then, combine everything at the end. All in all, this way wasn’t bad. I just wonder what would make it better (and possibly crispier). I sprinkled the concoction with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Once everything had sauteed a bit, I threw about 1/2 cup (plus a small handful more) of walnuts into the mixture. Everything was stirred around well, then removed to a bowl.
Since I had a hot pan on the stove, I decided to add another pat of butter and throw in the pork chops. Each side was seared, but the chops were not cooked through. I thought the searing might help the baking process. I was right. They came out juicy and wonderful after baking.
Pork chops were placed on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkled with salt and pepper on both sides. After seasoning, each pork chop was stuffed with a generous helping of the apple/walnut mixture. Chops were placed in a 350 degree oven and baked for 30 minutes.
Ahhh, this did come out pretty well over all. But that stuffing needs a wee bit of work. The pork chops themselves were tasty and flavorful. All in all it was a great meal for the night. A new recipe, Julie & Julia playing on Netflix, and a brownie for dessert. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if I had vanilla ice cream for the brownies.
Be the bento everyone! Have a great Wednesday.
Apple-Walnut Stuffed Pork Chops
Apple/Walnut Stuffed Pork Chops (A Recipe in Progress)
6, 2″ thick pork chops, sliced down the middle about half way
2 Braeburn apples (or other baking apple)
4-5 slices multi-grain bread
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Toast the walnuts for 10-12 minutes in a 400 degree oven until slightly browned. Taste to make sure they are toasted.
- Peel and core both apples. Dice into small thin pieces. Place diced pieces in a bowl of water with the juice of one lemon. This will help prevent browning while the rest of the recipe is prepared.
- Dice bread into half-inch cubes.
- Slice each pork chop down the middle lengthwise, but do not cut completely through. Leave one side of the pork chop intact so you can stuff the inside.
- Heat a skillet on your stove on medium heat with two tablespoons of butter.
- Drain the apples from the lemon-water.
- Once the butter is melted and bubbling slightly, place the apples in the skillet and sautee until slightly softened.
- Next, add the bread. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder over your stuffing mixture. If you prefer to use other spices, feel free to season to your liking.
- Sautee for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts to the skillet. Mix well. Turn off the heat and remove the mixture to a bowl.
- Deglaze your pan with a bit of water. If necessary, scrap the pan of any leftover bread residue and swipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
- Add a pat of butter to the pan.
- Sear each side of the pork chops until a nice golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Do not cook the pork chops through.
- Place pork chops onn a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
- Spoon a generous amount of the apple/walnut/bread mixture into the inside of each pork chop (the cut you made earlier).
- Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
- Take out of oven and check that the chops are cooked through.
- Eat and enjoy!