Recipe: Pan-fried pork chops

November 19, 2009 5:38:03 PM PST
A simple recipe that offers a sweet and savory surprise in each bite: Pan-fried pork chops stuffed with prunes and Westphalian Ham.

This is a simple and quick way to prepare pork chops. You could leave out the prune and ham stuffing if you are in hurry but the stuffing adds flavor to the interior of the chop and offers up a little surprise when you bite into the salty/ sweet filling.

What makes these chops so delicious is the spice rub and for even more flavor, stuff and season the chops the day before you cook them. Wrap them and refrigerate so the flavor of the spice and filling have an opportunity too penetrate the meat.

To add a touch more smoky flavor, I like to fry the chops in bacon grease, but if none is sitting around ,some good olive oil will work fine. Bone-in rib chops are my first choice for the cut to use but you can use boneless lion chops especially if they are cut from the rib area.

Since the chops are not brined first pay careful attention to not overcook them and if you have the inclination and can find some chops cut from heirloom Berkshire pork, all the better.

Pan-fried pork chops
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 pitted prunes
  • 2 thin slices Westphalian ham or prosciutto
  • 4 1 1/4-inch thick boneless pork chops
  • Spicy Herb Rub
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon espelette pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons bacon drippings or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • a few drops of tabasco, to taste
Preparation:
  1. Soak prunes in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and cut each prune in half lengthwise. Cut ham into strips as wide as each prune piece and wrap several layers around each prune. Cut a pocket into each chop large enough to hold 2 ham wrapped prunes placed side by side. Set aside.

  2. Combine next 6 ingredients and sprinkle generously over the chops and into each pocket. Insert ham wrapped prunes, placing two side by side in each pocket.

  3. Heat bacon fat or oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough to sear the chops, add them to the pan. Make sure the heat is not too high. You should hear a gentle sizzle when they hit the fat. Brown the chops for 2 to 3 minutes until nicely browned regulating the heat so they don't burn. Flip the chops; cover the pan and brown 3 to 4 minutes more. They are done when firm to the touch and reach an internal temperature of 140° F.

  4. Transfer chops to a platter. Combine vinegar, molasses, and tabasco and brush generously over chops. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.
For more information about Bruce Aidells, visit www.aidells.com


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