Pork today is much leaner than years ago - some say as much as 50% leaner. The leaner meat means it has less fat, but also makes it drier, tougher and less flavor. There are three easy methods to over come these issues. One, use a thicker pork chop, thinner cuts cook faster leading to a drier end product. Two, brine the pork chop, this will draw in more moisture. Three, add a flavorful stuffing in the middle to increase moisture. This recipe combines all three techniques for the perfect stuffed pork chop. Watch Becky make this on Studio 5
Yields: 4 Servings
3 cups cold water
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4 thick cut boneless pork chops (at least 1-inch thick)
Whisk together water, brown sugar and 2-tablespoons salt - until dissolved. Pour into gallon freezer bag; set aside.
Press pork chop flat on a cutting board, using one hand and a sharp paring knife or boning knife, cut a pocket in pork chop halfway between your hand and the cutting board. Be careful not to cut through the opposite side of the chop (and don’t cut your hand), keep the opening as small as possible while making the pocket as large as possible (opening may always be enlarged later as needed). Place pork chops in brine, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Chop bacon and scramble fry until crisp. Remove bacon, drain on paper towel; set aside. Drain off excess fat from the pan. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant (about 1 minutes). Add spinach and sprinkle with about 1-tablespoon water. Cover and steam over medium heat for 2-4 minutes or until wilted. Stir frequently with tongs to mix garlic and bacon drippings from the pan throughout the spinach. Set aside and cool.
Cut bread into strips and place in food processor. Pulse until bread is reduced to coarse crumbs. Add bacon and provolone cheese, pulse to mix. Stir in Ricotta, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and cooled spinach. Remove processor blade and mix well using rubber scraper.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place oven proof baking sheet with edges in oven to preheat.
Remove chops from brine and rinse with cold water, including inside the pocket; pat dry with a paper towel. Using a teaspoon, stuff filling into pockets created in pork chops. If needed, cut opening a little larger (avoid cutting opening too large, filling will ooze out during cooking)
In skillet, over medium high heat, using 1-tablespoon oil, sear chops about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chops and place in pre-heated oven to finish cooking. Cook about 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking to brown both sides. Chops are done when internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Place chops on serving plate, cover with foil tent and allow chops to continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.