Now friends, do not be alarmed when I use the word “attempt”. This meal was in fact extremely flavorful, it just did not turn out quite as pretty as this perfectionist would have hoped. Hey — that’s all part of the “adventure” part in this, right? Right!
This was a huge step for me as I’m not a fan of touching meat and this recipe calls for you to straight up hold it in your hands while cutting little pockets into the center of the pork chop. I’ll eat meat (as long as it’s not Thumper or Bambi) I just don’t like to actually feel it’s essence in my hands. Eeeehh!!
Like I said, this has an adventure in it, but don’t be alarmed….it turns out beautifully for your mouth, just not for your eyes. 🙂 I promise one day I’ll do a recipe that is not from Giada, I just keep finding so many fun new things to try! This recipe is courtesy of the FoodNetwork.com.
Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun – Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 sun dried tomatoes, diced (Giada used sun-dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil and I could only find the ones that were not…so when cooking them in the pan, I just added a few more drizzles of olive oil)
1 (10 oz.) bag of frozen spinach (thawed and the water completely squeezed out)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 oz.) goat cheese (don’t trade for a different cheese…this is what gives this dish it’s perfect bite!)
1/3 cup reduced fat cream cheese (I used full fat just because that’s what I had on hand)
4 (4 oz.) center cut pork chops (depending on the size of the pork chops, there could be enough stuffing left over for a few more pieces of meat)
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon zested
2 teaspoons of Dijion mustard (I used slightly more as I prefered more of a mustard flavor for the sauce, vs. a lemon flavor)
Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. (this is where I added a little extra olive oil) Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. The warmth of the mixture will help to soften the cheeses. Stir to combine and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the pork chop. Be sure to not cut all the way through the pork chop; remember, you just want a pocket.
Stuff each pocket with the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. I cooked for slightly longer for fear of under cooking the meat, but they came out a little tough…I would stick to the 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.
Now I learned how to de-glze a pan! Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. You can either spoon this mixture directly over the pork chops, or as I did…put in little side bowls and dip each piece as you like.
I hope that your little choppers turn out prettier than mine, (due to my slight over stuffing!) but just as tasty! 🙂 I encourage you to branch out and try something new… even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment that you gave it a go!
*photos courtesy of my sweet husband, Josh Malone…:) *