Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giada de Laurentiis: Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Let's just be honest here.  I love pork.  In all its incarnations.  I think tender ribs are the height of fabulous, caramelized ham will make me ignore everything else on my plate, and being German, I worship at the shrine of sausage.  Oh, and I subscribe to the line of thought that bacon makes everything better.  EVERYTHING.

The only problem with pork is that if it isn't cooked the right way, it turns out tasteless and dry as a bone.  Because the bureaucrats at the USDA want to make sure no one on the planet could possibly ever get sick from anything, they have decreed that pork be cooked to a temperature that renders it....incredibly unappealing.  It also renders it a waste of your money and your tastebuds.  Luckily Giada ignores the USDA.  My kind of girl.

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
⅓ cup cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1½ cups chicken broth
½ lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop.  Stuff each pocket with ¼ of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing.  Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot add the pork.  Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.  Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat.  Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers.  Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and stir until warmed through.  Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Makes 4 servings

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