Sunday, May 28, 2017

Stuffed Brined Pork Chops
6 boneless pork chops, 1-1/2-inches thick
3/4C packed light brown sugar
1/4C salt
6C water

1 slice bread, torn into quarters
1/4C pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 oz. spinach leaves, cooked and squeezed dry
1/2C shredded fontina cheese
1/4C ricotta cheese
1/2C Parmesan cheese
1 medium lemon, cut into 6 wedges
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ stick unsalted butter

For the brine:  Using a sharp knife, cut a one-inch opening into the side of each chop and then swing the knife tip through the chop to create a pocket, being careful not to widen the opening.  Turn knife and swing blade in opposite direction.  Dissolve sugar and salt in water in a large bowl or container; submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour.

For the stuffing:  Pulse the bread and pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground.  Heat oil in a sauté pan; add the garlic and sauté about one minute, add the cooked spinach and sauté to remove any excess liquid.  Mix cheeses together and add the spinach mixture.  Squeeze juice from lemon wedges into a small bowl and reserve the wedges.  Stir one tablespoon of juice into the stuffing along with salt and pepper taste.

Place a baking sheet in the lower middle position in the oven and
preheat to 425F.  Remove chops from the brine and rinse under cool running water; pat dry with paper towels.  Place one-sixth of stuffing in pocket of each chop.  Trim reserved lemon wedges to 2-inch lengths and insert one into each pocket to contain stuffing.  Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a sauté pan until hot and brown the chops.  Turn over and brown on the other side.  Transfer chops to the preheated baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 135F.  Transfer to a platter.  Pour any remaining juices into the pan you sautéed the pork in (or ½ cup chicken stock) and heat.  Add butter and swirl in.  Drizzle “sauce” over chops and serve.
MAKES:  6 servings