M: The image of a roast suckling pig with an apple in its mouth has been around hundreds of years, crossing cultures and continents. There has been speculation that it serves some value in the roasting process, but the general opinion that it is a purely aesthetic choice. While it does seem to shape the mouth of the pig into a bit of a smile, the flavors associated with apples and pork complement each other so well, it seems like they *belong* together. The natural smooth, salty tones of pork are uplifted by the subtle, tangy sweetness of apple. While we’re not roasting a whole pig today, the flavor pairing suggested in that iconic image are brought together to great effect in this dish from another icon of Southern cuisine, Chef Paul Prudhomme. As Chef Paul himself said, “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” This well-crafted meeting of sweet and spice tucked neatly inside a juicy chop is easier than it seems and doesn’t take a whole pig to get you there.
According to the North Carolina Pork Council, pork is the world’s most consumed meat and N.C. is the second largest producer of pork in the United States (Iowa being #1). We serve it in many ways and for every occasion there is pork to be had, be it the beloved Christmas ham, pulled pork sandwiches, or a good old fashioned pig pickin’. Hard to believe we go to New Orleans to find this recipe that stuffs pork chops with more pork.
I loved this one. Ground pork and bread crumbs provide terrific heft and texture to the stuffing, but pureed apples, diced peppers and onions and a phenomenal blend of spices really bring it home. Not too sweet, a spice blend that’s right on the money and so, so juicy. Just right. And did I mention those spices? Somebody should really sell this stuff.
Recipe: Stuffed Pork Chops
Summary: Pork chops stuffed with peppers, onion, pureed apples, spices, bread crumbs and… more pork. Hooray! From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.
- 2 Unpeeled Apples, cored and chopped
- 7 T Butter, room temperature
- 3 T Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Nutneg
- 1 T Salt
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp White Pepper
- ½ tsp Dry Mustard
- ½ tsp Rubbed Sage
- ½ tsp Cumin
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- 12 oz Ground Pork
- 1 c Onions, chopped
- 1 c Green Bell Peppers
- 2 tsp Garlic, minced
- 1 (4 oz) Can Diced Green Chiles
- 1 c Pork or Chicken Stock
- ½ c Fine Bread Crumbs
- ½ c Green Onions, finely chopped
- 6 (1¾ in. thick) pork chops
- Puree apples, 1/2 stick butter, brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in food processor.
- Mix seasoning blend by stirring together the salt, onion powder, cayenne, garlic powder, white pepper, dry mustard, sage, cumin, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl.
- Brown ground pork in remaining butter in a large skillet.
- Stir in onions, bell peppers, garlic and two tablespoons seasoning mix and cook 5 minutes, stirring and deglazing pot.
- Stir in chiles and cook until mixture is brown (6-8 minutes).
- Add stock and cook 5 minutes.
- Add bread crumbs and cook 5 minutes.
- Add apple puree and green onions and cook 5 minutes before removing from heat.
- Using a boning knife, cut a large pocket into each pork chop.
- Sprinkle each chop with seasoning and prop, pocket side up, in a baking dish.
- Fill each pocket with 1/4 c (or so) stuffing.
- Bake 70 minutes at 400 degrees, adding pan with remaining stuffing to oven to cook for the final 20 minutes.