With Easter right around the corner I thought I’d offer up something a little different than your average baked ham or turkey or other traditional celebratory foods. These stuffed pork chops are for a smaller crowd (which you could certainly double or triple) but still fancy enough to feel special and warrant a nice bottle of wine to go with it.
First, the sweet potatoes
The stuffed pork chops and sweet potatoes get baked in one pan which is easy on the clean-up. To get started we need to get the sweet potatoes in the oven, they take twice as long to roast as the stuffed pork chops. Toss them with some lemon zest and paprika, a little olive oil and salt and pepper and get them going in the oven.
How to pound the pork chops
Meanwhile you can pound out the boneless chops. It is worth mentioning to look for thin, already-pounded pork chops at the store. They will sometimes be labeled escaloped pork chops or if you go to a Mexican market they might be called chuletas para milanesa. Doing it yourself however is really very simple, all you need is a meat mallet, rolling pin, or even a wine bottle will work (be careful with that one though). Cover the pork chop with a layer of plastic wrap to keep the mallet from sticking and try to get them as thin as possible, the wider they are, the easier they will be to roll up and the more filling you can stuff in each one.
All about the filling
As for the filling, I used riced cauliflower instead of traditional rice. I love the flavor and the fact that nothing in the filling has to be cooked first. I buy the riced cauliflower at Trader Joe’s but you can make your own, if you don’t know how, check out this video. The filling takes on a more Mediterranean flare with roasted, salted pistachios, dried persimmons, bits of blue cheese, and minced red chiles for spice.
How to stuff the pork chops
Spoon the filling on to the pounded chops—the recipe calls for about 2 tablespoons in each but if your chops are bigger I say put in as much as each one can handle. Then roll the pork over the filling and hold each one together at the seam with a toothpick. Making a roulade like this means more stuffing in each, but if you’d like to get bone-in pork chops you can cut a slit in the middle of each one and stuff the filling into the pocket (the roasting time will be longer however).
Nestle each chop (seam-side down) in between the sweet potatoes and brush with a little balsamic-honey glaze. Then return to the oven to roast for only about 20 minutes. The pork chops can be filled and refrigerated the night before if you’d like to get that step done in advance.
A simple mustard vinaigrette pulls the whole dish together. Serve with some fresh spring asparagus blanched in salted water and served warm with a little butter and squeeze of lemon.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 4 center-cut, boneless pork chops
- ½ cup riced cauliflower *see note
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted, salted pistachios
- 1 tablespoon chopped dried persimmons or dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh red chiles or dried chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat oven to 400°F and arrange rack in the middle.
- Place sweet potatoes on a large roasting pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them. Zest the lemon and sprinkle the zest over the sweet potatoes along with the paprika,1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Toss to coat then spread into a single layer.
- Roast sweet potatoes in oven 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place one pork chop on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the pork chop to about ¼-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining pork chops. Season each pork chops with salt and pepper.
- Combine cauliflower, blue cheese, scallion, pistachios, persimmons, parsley, chile flakes, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper in a medium bowl.
- Divide cauliflower mixture between the pork chops and roll up to seal. Place a toothpick at the seam to hold closed.
- Nestle pork chops, seam-side down between the sweet potatoes. Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small bowl, then brush the mixture over the pork chops.
- Roast pork in oven until cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Remove toothpicks from pork chops and serve immediately with the sweet potatoes and vinaigrette.
One More Thing
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