Thursday, May 21, 2015

Song Sung Blue - Stacked and Stuffed Pork Chops

Song sung blue, everybody knows one
Song sung blue, every garden grows one
Me and you are subject to

The blues now and then
But when you take the blues
And make a song
You sing 'em out again
You sing 'em out again

Song sung blue, weeping like a willow

Song sung blue, sleeping on my pillow
Funny thing,
But you can sing it with a cry in your voice
And before you know it get to feeling good
You simply got no choice

Tuesday - Finding myself in need of a stuffing recipe for 14 gorgeous boneless pork chops, I started to wrack my brain and the Internet, when I realized I'd had the perfect recipe all along.  It is something dreamed up by Rachael Ray when she was going through her creative-use-of-prebaked-muffins stage.  My version is very slightly different, all the credit goes to her.  How she puts flavors together never ceases to amaze me.

I have managed to prepare the stuffing, which is pretty damn amazing considering I had a a CPS attack in the middle of the day, but there is no way I'm going to be able to prepare and stuff the chops anytime today.  Besides, I am watching "The Five" on Fox (yes, Fox) and Kimberly Guilfoyle and Juan Williams damn near got into the center of the floor to try to knock each other out.  Smashing entertainment! 

4 thick-cut boneless pork chops, center cut, about 2 pounds
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup rioja or other dry red wine, eyeball it, about 1/4 of a bottle
1/2 cup black cherry preserves or all-fruit spread
2 cups beef stock, divided
1/2 pound linguica or chorizo, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 corn muffins, crumbled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, eyeball it in your palm
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, 4 to 5 sprigs

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, 2 turns around the pan. Add the chops and caramelize the meat, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer meat to a sheet pan and place in the oven to finish cooking through, 12 to 15 minutes. Return pan to stove, reduce heat a bit and add butter to the skillet. Add flour to butter and cook 1 minute. Whisk wine into pan and reduce 1 minute then whisk in preserves and 1 cup of stock. Season with salt and coarse black pepper and let gravy thicken over low heat.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. When oil smokes, add linguica or chorizo and brown, 2 minutes. Add the celery, onions, peppers, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes then crumble muffins into the skillet and combine with vegetables. Dampen the stuffing with remaining 1 cup of stock and season with smoked paprika and thyme. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

Remove meat from oven and whisk the drippings into your gravy. Pile stuffing on plates, chops alongside and ladle gravy over both. Scatter parsley over meat and stuffing.

My changes to the stuffing:
I used roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil to sauté the chourico and vegetables
I used Gaspar's Chourico, because Publix did not have any linguica
I used just one celery rib
I used granulated garlic along with the salt and pepper; I also added the smoked paprika and the thyme at the same time
I sautéed the chourico and vegetables for quite a bit longer than called for in the recipe
I only used 1/2 cup of the broth in the stuffing
I added 2 tablespoons of butter and a generous 1/4 cup of cherry-infused craisins just before adding the crumbled corn muffins
I will be adding two lightly beaten eggs to the stuffing so it will hold together as the middle of the pork chop "sandwich", and I have allowed the stuffing to cool down completely before doing so.

Wednesday - Sucky day. Depressed. Feeling blue, caught an ear worm, passed it on.. Unimpressed by Trader Joe's.  Yet another medical-type appointment to shlep to.

My changes to the pork chops:
14 boneless chops from the loin, 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil
7 slices regular bacon

Constructing the stacked and stuffed chops:

Fasten the bacon around the chop with a wooden toothpick

I did brown them on each side, but did not put the individual chops in the oven to finish cooking.  I divided the stuffing, 1 1/2 ice cream scoops on seven chops, then used a fork to pat the stuffing down evenly.  I covered the stuffing with the remaining chops, and wrapped each stacked and stuffed chop with one slice of bacon.  These went into a preheated 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  Once they came out of the oven I ladled all of the cherry gravy over the chops.  

How I prepared the gravy:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
1-18 oz. jar Smucker's cherry preserves
1/4 cup cherry-infused craisins
salt, pepper, granulated garlic
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter to finish sauce

Melt the butter in a large skillet and whisk in the flour, cooking for a minute, constantly whisking.  Add the wine and beef stock, raise the heat and cook until the gravy thickens slightly.  Add the entire jar of preserves, continue stirring until they melt.  Add the cherry-infused craisins and let them cook until softened.  Add the seasonings and the Worcestershire.  Continue to cook on medium low, whisking, until sauce reduces slightly.  Stir in the butter until melted and the sauce is shiny.  Ladle over the stuffed pork chops.

Now, I found the taste of the wine to be very pronounced, so either use a little less (make up the difference with stock or water, or try a different red wine.  Mine was a semi-sweet Russian red, a little too intense.

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