This is one of my favorite stuffed pork chop recipes, from one of my favorite chef's, Giada de Laurentiis. It is so flavorful and savory...I heart it very much! I only make it once in awhile, but when I do, I consider it quite a treat. We actually had this for last night's dinner, so I will skip the fluff, and just get down to the nitty-gritty of the recipe. Needless to say, we all loved it and there are no leftovers for today.
I have to make a few adjustments based on our families preferences. The husband is not a huge fan of goat cheese (it is a little too tangy for him), but he will eat it in small quantities. I think this recipe calls for 2 ounces (or 1/4 cup) of goat cheese, but I actually cut it down to 1 ounce (or 1/8 of a cup) and find that it is the perfect amount. I usually make up the difference in quantity by adding more cream cheese. Also, the husband likes the flavor, but not the texture, of sun-dried tomatoes. I actually agree with him on this one. Sometimes large pieces of sun-dried tomatoes are a little too chewy for me, as well. I fixed this little issue by chopping the sun-dried tomatoes really finely before adding them to the filling. Problems solved! The texture is no longer a point of contention, and the sun-dried tomato flavor still shines through the dish.
I always end up with more filling than I need for the stuffing, so I actually top the chops with the remaining filling (I remove the chops from the pan, and put the filling on top right before covering them with foil); the filling gets all melty and warm through from the carry-over steam. It is so good!!!
I think this is another dish where the quick pan sauce really makes it yummy. So, don't skip the sauce step. Trust me.
I served this meal with Creamy Parmesan Orzo and steamed green beans. It was fan-freakin'-tastic!
Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
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
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese ***(I only use 1 ounce)***
1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
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 1/4 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. ***(Here is where I put the extra filling on top of the chop, before tenting with foil).***
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. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.