Monday, January 14, 2013

Garlic Lemon Broccoli Stuffed Chops

I am having a hard time concentrating on writing tonight's post, thanks to my husband.  He keeps flipping the channels back and forth between two of my guiltiest pleasures:  Bridesmaids and Duck Dynasty.

I didn't think I would like either one of those, yet here I am, raising my hand, saying, "Hi, my name is Anita, and I like the crude humor of Bridesmaids and the redneck ingenuity of Duck Dynasty.  I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I trust that you won't judge me."  Hey, sometimes you just can't explain why you like a certain thing, it might go against everything you generally like, but you do anyway.

Okay, we have gotten past my favorite part, now I can get back on track.  I'm sorry for the detour.  Yesterday, I decided that I wanted stuffed pork chops for lunch.  We had gotten a nice package of boneless chops last weekend, while shopping in Fargo, that were the perfect thickness to be stuffed.  The only thing is, neither of my kids are fond of stuffing.  They'll eat almost anything else, but not stuffing, so I can't complain.  Well, if I wasn't going to use something bread-based as a filling, what then?  I had ricotta cheese, which was a start.  Next, a vegetable.  I thought of doing spinach, but that seemed very commonplace.  I looked through my freezer and decided broccoli would be good.  Once, I had that, I knew which way I was going.  I still have my beautiful Meyer lemons, and I happen to love the flavor combinations of broccoli, garlic and lemon.

I should warn you, this is not a quick-fix meal.  You need to have, at least, a couple of hours to invest in the preparation and cooking, but it is worth it.

Here's your Cast of Characters.

4-6 Boneless pork chops, 1/2 - 3/4" inch thick
1/3 Cup ricotta cheese
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 Bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed
3 Tsp, minced garlic, divided
Juice and zest from 1 lemon, the juice divided (I used one of my Meyer lemons but you can use a regular one.)
1 1/2 Tsps Lawry's seasoning salt, divided
3/4 Tsp pepper, divided
1 Tsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb blend, divided
1/2 Cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 and line a 9 x 13 baking dish with foil.

Roughly chop the broccoli, and throw in a medium mixing bowl.

Add ricotta, Pecorino Romano, 2 tsp garlic, zest, juice from half of the lemon, 1 tsp Lawry's,1/2 tsp, each, pepper and garlic & herb to the bowl.  Mix well.

Lay a pork chop flat on the cutting board.  Place one hand firmly down on the chop, and with a sharp knife, cut a deep slit in the center of the pork chop.

Be very careful to stay in the center and not to cut all the way through.

Use a tablespoon to fill the chops.

Once you have stuffed all the pork chops, and placed in the baking dish, sprinkle each lightly with Lawry's, pepper and garlic & herb seasonings.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.  While that is baking, in a small saute pan, prepare a sauce to drizzle over the chops by adding chicken broth, butter, juice from half of a lemon, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp, each, Lawry's and garlic & herb.

Heat to medium-high, whisking to combine.

Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced by half (10 - 15 minutes). 

Set aside until pork chops are done.  When timer goes off on the chops, uncover and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, until they are cooked through.  Remove to a serving platter.

Drizzle sauce evenly over the pork chops.

Serve immediately.