Cranberry-Walnut Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Cider Pan Sauce
Quick and easy, colorful and festive...packed with flavor and texture.
Pork chops make the perfect weeknight dinner, in no small part because they cook quickly with little fuss. This recipe takes regular boneless pork chops to another level thanks to the Omega-3 Deluxe Mix from Stew Leonard’s, a combination of dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds. A quick pan sauce made from apple cider completes the dish, making it elegant enough for a holiday meal.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; paring knife; wet and dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; large and deep sauté pan with tight-fitting lid; tongs
2 cups Stew Leonard’s Omega-3 Deluxe Mix
(dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds) 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, finely diced
4 thyme sprigs (leaves only)
4 boneless pork chops (approximately 2 pounds)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Using a chef’s knife, roughly chop the Omega-3 Deluxe Mix to break up, in particular, the larger nuts, such as the walnuts, pecans, and almonds. Set aside.
2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions with a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped Omega-3 Deluxe Mix and thyme, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
"This recipe cooks the pork chops twice but very quickly so that they stay flavorful and moist without at all overcooking."
3. Using a paring knife, make a deep and wide pocket in each pork chop by piercing the plump, short end of the chop with the knife, moving the knife gently from side to side, about 2 inches wide, within half an inch of the edges.
4. Sprinkle the inside and outside of the pocketed pork chops with salt and pepper. Then fill each pork chop with ¼ of the sautéed cranberry-nut mixture, packing it in to fill the pocket fully.
5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan and add the pork chops. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside.
6. Add the chicken stock to the pan, scraping up the brown bits to incorporate into the sauce. Once the liquid simmers, return the pork chops to the pan, cover with a lid, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Remove the lid as well as the pork chops and set aside. Continue to cook the liquid in the pan until the stock has almost evaporated, leaving a shallow film in the pan.
8. Add the apple cider to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat until the cider has reduced and slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cold butter until melted. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
ILOC tip: the easiest way to determine if the sauce is thick enough to add the butter is if it coats the back of a spoon and leaves no trace of sauce when you run your finger through it.
9. Serve the pork chops whole or sliced on the bias, drizzled with the pan sauce.
Makes 4 servings.