Pork Chops with Pecan and Onion Stuffing

1
  • Makes 6 Servings
  • "A Love Affair With Southern Cooking"

Southerners have always had a penchant for stuffing things– tomatoes large and small, bell peppers, eggplant, yellow squash, fish, shellfish. Pork chops too, of course. This recipe teams pork and pecans, a felicitous combination. As with any pork chop recipe, choosing pork that hasn’t had the succulence bred out of it is key. Otherwise, the chops will toughen and dry. Note: If things are to move smoothly, prepare the stuffing first; it can wait but the pork chops can’t. Tip: Toast the pecans before you chop them: spread in a pie pan and set on the middle shelf of a 350° F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes. But watch carefully.

Stuffing

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, moderately coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium celery rib, trimmed and finely diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped, lightly toasted pecans (see Tip above)
  • 2 cups coarsely crumbled stale, dry, firm-textured white bread (4 slices)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons hot chicken broth (about)
Directions:

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat for about 2 minutes or until ripples appear on the skillet bottom. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, reduce the heat to moderate, and cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are limp. Mix in all remaining ingredients, adding only enough chicken broth to hold the stuffing together; it shouldn’t be wet. Scoop the stuffing into a small bowl and reserve. Scrape the skillet well, then wipe with paper toweling so that you can use it to brown the chops. No point in dirtying two skillets.

Pork Chops

Ingredients:
  • Six 1 3/4-inch-thick, bone-in pork loin chops, 1 rib per chop (about 5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken broth
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Using a small sharp knife and beginning on the outer curved edge (the one with the thin layer of fat), cut a pocket into each pork chop that’s about 4 inches wide and 2 ½ to 3 inches deep. If you can sweet-talk your butcher into doing the job for you, so much the better. Pack the reserved stuffing into the pockets in the pork chops, dividing the total amount evenly.

Heat the oil in the skillet over moderately high heat for 1 minute, then brown the chops in two batches, allowing 3 to 4 minutes per side per chop. Remove from the heat, then lay the pork chops on their sides in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and pour the hot chicken broth into the pan around the chops.

Cover the pan snugly with foil, slide onto the middle oven shelf, and bake for about 40 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted halfway through a top chop, touching neither filling nor bone, registers 145° F. Remove the chops from the oven, lift off the foil, and let stand for about 10 minutes. To serve, arrange the chops on a heated large platter and spoon some of the pan drippings over all.

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