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Monday, March 3, 2008

stuffed pork chops & grilled polenta

stuffed pork chop
I don't normally watch cooking shows, but my sister and I caught a few minutes of a Tyler Florence episode yesterday that made me want to try his recipe for stuffed pork chops (Anthony said the guy lost all credibility when he endorsed a menu for Applebee's, but this looked so good I have to ignore that little detail).

Tyler used bone-in chops, but I prefer the center cut boneless variety -- just make sure they're really thick. For each chop, you need a slice of fontina cheese and a slice or 2 of prosciutto. You'll also need a box of polenta (look in the rice/pasta aisle), a few handfuls of red seedless grapes, thyme sprigs, butter, cream and parmesan.

stuffing the pork chop
I soaked the chops in a brine while I made the polenta and prepped everything else (about 30 minutes; put the chops in a gallon size ziploc with a handful of sugar, salt, and a sprig of thyme, then put the bag in the fridge). Cook the polenta according to the package directions, or make grit cakes, if you prefer. When the polenta is done cooking, stir in a 1/4 cup of cream, a handful of grated parmesan, salt, pepper, and 2-3 T butter. Spread into a square pyrex dish and put in the fridge to cool/harden.

Preheat the oven to 425, then stuff the chops -- remove from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Cut an opening (see the picture), and move the knife around on the inside to create a pocket. I wrapped the fontina slice with the prosciutto to easily stuff it down in the pocket. Heat some olive oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over med-high heat. Cook the pork chops for about 6-8 minutes (sear both sides basically), then place the skillet in the oven to roast the chops for 5-10 minutes more. Since mine were so thick I ended up cooking a full 10 minutes in the oven. I also put a big bunch of seedless grapes right on top of the pork chops before putting the pan in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper. This roasts the grapes so you have a sweet contrast to the salty pork dish.

While they are roasting, you cut the polenta into squares, brush with olive oil, and grill on a grill pan till they are brown. To serve the entire dish, place a pork chop on top of the polenta, grapes on the side (I served with a simple arugula salad on the side as well). You definitely won't find anything this good at Applebee's...


Morgan said...

WOW. that looks really good. how was it? i am drooling just looking at it. how would you describe fontina cheese? i don't think i've ever had it.

KT said...

Fontina is fairly nutty, it's solid with a smooth texture (kind of like a gouda's texture). I was introduced to it by Anthony's family, since it's an Italian cheese -- they use it to make these sandwiches with fontina, a meat called soppressata, and other stuff. It's a strong flavor, but not in the rotten-moldy-strong kind of way like a blue cheese.

The pork chops were really good, and easier to make than I thought. I'm trying to learn to make more pork dishes b/c it's healthy and a less expensive type of meat. I have other pork recipes I like better though, and will have to cook them soon to show you!