cheese-stuffed pork chops

I must not be the only person in this world who is inexplicably drawn to any food that boasts being “stuffed with cheese.”  Right?  I can’t be alone in my belief that anything (fried jalapenos, dates, a rock) sounds delicious when there’s cheese involved.

If you are, in fact, anything like me, then you’ll like this dish.  Actually, you may even love it.  The recipe itself is at times unwieldy (I almost lost a finger when trying to cut “deep pockets” into the sides of my pork chops, which creeps me out because a) ouch; and b) raw meat and open wounds do not a happy cook make).  But I love the fun combination of salad and cheese stuffed inside a delicious pork chop that’s been lightly fried.

The best part about this meal (cheese aside)?  The cannellini beans.  So often an understudy in the great play of eating, these beans almost steal the show.  You add them to the same pan you’ve cooked the pork in, scrape all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan, and then return the chops to the pan with the beans.  They absorb tons of flavor, and are absolutely delicious.

Not your typical dish, but then again, I’m not your typical gal (or so I like to tell myself).

Cheese-Stuffed Pork Chops

via Food Network Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 3

Serves 4

Kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

4 bone-in, thick-cut pork chops (6 to 8 ounces each)

1/2 medium head escarole

2 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Freshly ground pepper

4 slices provolone cheese (about 2 ounces)

4 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt and the sugar in 3 cups warm water in a large bowl.  Insert a paring knife into the curved side of each pork chop to make a deep pocket, about 2 inches wide.  Soak the chops in the brine, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop the escarole and garlic.  Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry.  Fold each cheese slice and tuck into the pocket of a pork chop, then stuff with the escarole mixture.  Brush the pork with olive oil, sprinkle with the sage and season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sear the pork in batches, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate  Add the beans and 1/2 cup water to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits; season with salt and pepper.  Return the pork to the skillet, cover and cook over medium heat until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve the pork with the beans.

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