I found this recipe on ALDI’s and I immediately wanted to try it. With Thanksgiving coming up, this is the perfect alternative for those like me who do not have time to roast an entire turkey (or whatever it is you guys do). After making stuffed chicken breasts, I was confident that I could do this too! Has that ever happened to you? In my mind, I was wearing a cape and everything! But I had one major problem: I had never seen pork chops thick enough to stuff before.
I went to the store (still confident) to look for pork chop centers (which my mum told me would be the thickets part). When we could find any thick cuts, we went to the butcher who unapologetically told us that’s the thickest he cuts them and there are no more pieces to cut from. I didn’t know how I would make it. When I took them out Sunday morning to cook, I instantly knew they were to thin so I got the idea to simply put my stuffing on top. And trust me, it was just as good!
But I did make one boo boo. Don’t judge me: I forgot to season it! I know, how could I? We were rushing out of the house so I quickly threw it together then into the oven when mum asked if I seasoned it. It was too late as it had already been baking for 20 minutes. But when I went to eat it, all I had to do was sprinkle a little lemon pepper and balsamic vinaigrette and that little mistake made for the best meat dish I have EVER prepared! Can anyone say, GOAT?
Apple, Feta Cheese & Pecan-Stuffed Pork Chops
6 center cut pork chops
6 cups water, divided
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup Honey or maple syrup
¾ teaspoon iodized Salt, divided, plus additional to taste
1 cup Chopped Pecans
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
4 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper, plus additional to taste
6 ounces or Feta cheese crumbled
2 tablespoons lemon pepper
5 tablespoons cranberry sauce
In a medium pot, bring 4 cups water, lemon juice, honey (or maple syrup) and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, add 2 cups cold water. Pour the brine into a plastic container large enough for the chops. Add the chops, brine overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
For the stuffing: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple slices, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the chopped pecans and goat cheese.
Remove the chops from the brine.
If your pork chops are thick enough Slit each chop horizontally to create a large hole for the stuffing. Spoon the stuffing into the chops. Season each chop with salt and pepper and lemon pepper to taste. Then top with cranberry sauce (1 tablespoon per pork chop).
Place chops on a baking pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature is 155-160°. Top with balsamic vinaigrette before serving and enjoy!