With the arrival of the fall season, it seems that everyone’s mind automatically switches over from salads and iced drinks to more warm, homey foods. Some of my personal favorites are all the comforting soups and stews that go hand in hand with fall weather. But I could never forget one of our local fall produce stars – apples!
The area of north Georgia where we live is a huge producer of apples supplying an average of 2 million pounds per year. There are dozens of orchards within a short drive from us and they produce some of the best, tastiest apples you’ve ever seen! I love using our local apples to make a big batch of Spiced Applesauce in the Slow Cooker that we freeze and enjoy throughout the year.
When we think of apples, we almost always think “sweet” don’t we? Pies, crisps, crumbles, tarts, cakes, baked apples, applesauce. They’re all certainly delicious, but when the theme for this month’s Progressive Eats was announced, I just felt that I wanted to do something different and went the savory route with these Apple Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops. These stuffed chops are easy to prepare and make a pretty presentation for a company dinner. They’re also perfect for a weekend family meal. The apple and pecan combination is an interesting complement to the savory pork. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and be sure to scroll all the way to the end of the post for a listing of all this month’s apple recipes from the Progressive Eats group.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For a stuffing pork chop, you want a thickness of at least 1 1/2 inches. A thinner chop is difficult to work with in creating the pockets for the stuffing. Also, you’ll need a very sharp, long, thin knife to make the task easier. Of course, you could just ask your butcher to do it for you if you don’t want to do it yourself. Also, if I was serving this for guests, I’d remove the flesh from the bone at the lower end of the chop creating a Frenched effect. These were for family, so I didn’t bother with that. Be sure to trim the pork chops of any excess fat. Then create the pockets by cutting through the flesh of each pork chop nearly to the bone.
Liberally season the chops both inside and out with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the fresh bread crumbs (made mine from some leftover ciabatta) , chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped apple, pecans, parsley, mustard, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. (Note: I always choose a Golden Delicious apple for stuffings, etc., because they keep their shape during cooking better than most. You could, however, use any crisp, juicy apple that you particularly like.)
Stuff the pocket of each chop with a generous amount of the bread-apple-pecan mixture. You should have plenty of the mixture to fill four large chops.
Secure the opening with toothpicks. I used two – one at the top and one at the bottom.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil and the butter. Add the chops, two at a time, and cook until nicely browned on both sides.
Add all four browned chops back to the pan and add the chicken broth or stock. I was using my big 12″ cast iron skillet and had to fit those chops in there like they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but it worked out!
Cover the skillet with a lid or with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Check often making sure not to overcook.
Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chops to a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.
Strain the cooking juices to remove any solid bits and return the strained juices to the pan. Cook over high heat at a rapid boil until reduced to your desired consistency to create a sauce to serve with the chops. The sauce may be finished with a teaspoon or two of butter if desired.
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Alpine Eggs
- Two years ago: Chocolate-Caramel Dipped Waffle Sticks
- Three years ago: Hot Artichoke Spread
- Four years ago: Black Bean Chili
- Five years ago: Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream
- Six years ago: Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is all about Apples and is hosted by Liz Berg who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. With Autumn’s arrival, it’s the perfect time to start using fall’s harvest in our menus. We have some great ideas this month to use apples in all sorts of dishes, from Appetizers to Dessert.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
September’s Apple Recipes from the Progressive Eats bloggers:
- Apple and Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops from Never Enough Thyme
- Apple-Cheese Spread from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Apple Chutney from Mother Would Know
- Savory Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding from Stetted
- Tsunth Monji – Green Apple Fritters from Spiceroots
- Apple Butter Coffee Cake from Pastry Chef Online
- Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Apple Streusel Cake with Yogurt Cream (Gluten-Free) from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Homemade Pink Applesauce (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Hubba Hubba Apple Cake from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
- Maple Glazed Apple Tart from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Maple Roasted Apple Butter with Bourbon from Creative Culinary