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.
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