Friday, September 30

Apple-Fennel Stuffed Pork Chops

My friend has a very fruitful apple tree in her backyard and has been gifting us with all sorts of homemade apple goodies like cake and applesauce. I’m not a huge pork and applesauce fan, but I do love the flavor combination (see this recipe) and thought I’d try a something new with apple-stuffed pork chops. I kept it savory by combining the apples stuffing with onions, fennel, and sage, which was a perfect balance with the meaty chops. I cooked the whole thing in my new Le Creuset pot (a recent gift from my grandmother), which just went on sale at Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma.

Apple-Fennel Stuffed Pork Chops:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium-size pan and add in 1/2 diced yellow onion and 1 diced fennel bulb.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes, until vegetables soften but don't brown.
  • Add in 1 diced Gala apple* and 1 tsp. fresh, chopped sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the stuffing is tender. De-glaze the bottom bits from the pan with 1-2 tbsp. white wine.** Let stuffing cool.
  • Meanwhile, use a pairing knife to cut deep pockets in the center of 3-4 boneless, center-cut pork chops (about 1 1/2 lbs. total).***
  • Pack the stuffing into the chops' pockets and season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large, oven-proof pot until very hot.
  • Sear both sides of the pork for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  • Transfer the pot to a 400°F oven and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked-through.
  • Let pork rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serves three-four (one chop per person)
*Or any firm apple, such as Fuji or Granny Smith.
**Can substitute with chicken stock or water.
***You want the pockets to be as deep as possible without cutting all the way through the meat.