Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paleo Stuffed Pork Chops

I realize that spring is quickly approaching, so I find myself craving some of my favorite cool weather foods. I made a double batch of Ina Garten's Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, which required me to pick up some cider. Since I don't serve juice to my kids, I needed to find other ways to make use of the drink.

Pork and apples pair so naturally together, as do the other elements of the stuffing I created to fill them. I loved the flavor of the stuffing, though I did find that perhaps I cooked my chops too long in the oven, as the outer edges were a little dry.

The glaze did help at both flavor and moisture, though, and this meal really hit the spot on a blustery, rainy day.

Paleo Stuffed Pork Chops

2 tbs. butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
small handful each of raw chopped pecan pieces & dried cranberries
thinly sliced cheddar (optional)

1 cup apple cider
1 tbs. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 tsp. dijon mustard
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 1 tbs. butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion through apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.

While onion mixture is cooking, lay each chop flat on a cutting board, and cut a pocket into the meat leaving three sides intact. Season with salt and pepper.

Once onion mixture is ready, remove from heat and stir in nuts and cranberries. Season with thyme, cinnamon, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Fill pork chops with mixture. If using cheese, slide a thin slice alongside either the top or bottom of the chop before stuffing.

Secure pork with toothpicks. Wipe out skillet and add remaining tbs. of butter. Once it's melted, add pork and cook for 2 minutes a side. Cover skillet and put in oven, cooking at 350 for 45 minutes.

During last few minutes of pork chops baking, combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Heat in a saucepan over low heat until the mixture reduces and thickens to your liking.

When ready to serve pork, remove toothpicks from pork and drizzle with apple cider glaze.

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