last night’s dinner~pesto-stuffed pork chops

I am becoming quite the cook, if I do say so myself. I’m not a big fan of cooking pork. I have a small oven, so I’m never sure if the time is going to be right from the recipes. And these chops were fairly thick. I definitely don’t want to undercook it. I never know if it’s done or not, and then I overcook it, and it gets dry, and while I still eat it, I don’t think I’d serve it up for friends or family (ok, maybe family, since they would love me anyways). So if anyone has any tips on how to tell when pork is done, let me know.

I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook (pink limited edition), pg. 349.

Pesto-Stuffed Pork Chops

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35-45 min. Makes: 4 servings Oven: 375

3 T crumbled feta cheese

2 T refrigerated basil pesto

1 T pine nuts, toasted

4 pork loin chops, or boneless pork loin chops, cut 1 1/4″ think

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1 tsp bottled minced garlic

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed

1 T balsamic vinegar

1. For filling, stir together cheese, pesto, and nuts. Set aside. Trim fat from meat. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting horizontally from the fat side almost to the bone or the opposite side. Divide filling among pockets in chops. If necessary, secure opening with a wooden toothpick.

2. For rub, in a small bowl combine black pepper, oregano, garlic, red pepper, and thyme. Rub evenly onto all sides of meat. Place chops on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake in a 375 degree over for 35-45 min or until done (160 deg) and juices run clear. Brush vinegar onto chops during the last 5 minutes of baking. Before serving, discard toothpicks.

Nutrition: 358 calories, 18g total fat, 4g carb, 41g protein, 0g fiber, 104 mg chol, 201mg sodium

I only have a picture of the finished product since my battery had died and I charged it while the pork was cooking. I’ll update later with that.

So since I cook for me, myself, and I, and the recipe was for 4 servings, I went ahead and made all 4 (actually 5, since the family pack had that and I didn’t want to leave one all alone.) So what I cooked these for about 35 min. and they looked done, but I knew upon reheating they could cook a bit longer so if they were a bit pink in the middle that would be ok. I won’t add the vinegar until I reheat, and then I’ll use my toaster oven to reheat.

the finished product

mmm...so yummy

Results: This recipe was fairly easy, and I had never done anything “stuffed” before and I found that pretty easy as well. Maybe since the chops were so thick! It didn’t take too long to prep, toasting the pine nuts and cutting the pork took the longest. And the flavor and texture was amazing, so very flavorful. A bit of heat with the crushed red pepper, and since I don’t like too much heat, I may make that 1/8 tsp in the future. I didn’t overcook it, although I’m a bit worried about the leftovers, but that’s what I expect from my leftovers, still flavorful, but just well done. This recipe goes into my favorites vault!

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