“Bacon, Apple, Stuffed, Pork Chops”
Performing all the tasks of the “Original Domestic God” can occasionally get, well . . . predictable and boring. (cue really big yawn) and that includes cooking meals as well. And while it’s true that I have never in my life had a cooking lesson, I can, with great ease, comprehend the instructions written in a “how to manual,” er um . . . “recipe.”
This “Domestic God” has also become well-versed in morphing recipes and testing out new food combinations that I believe will taste great. Yeah, sometimes that doesn’t go as planned and even my “Domestic dog and Domestic cat’s” won’t eat it. While my wife will politely come up with some excuse not to eat it, my middle daughter Sarah will come right out and say; “hey dad, what the hell did you make, this is terrible!” Then my wife will start to chuckle, I’ll laugh and soon we’re all laughing and I’m on the phone ordering a pizza. Luckily for me and my wallet, that doesn’t happen very often.
My “bacon, apple, stuffed, pork chops” is one of those recipes. I tweaked it just a little bit and the result was stupendous! The aroma that fills your house will make your mouth water (but not like when your mouth waters before you barf), but in a good way. So break out that tablet, iphone or pen and paper and get ready to write down this awesome recipe you can serve your family anytime. The prep work is a tad bit time consuming so don’t try to make this on a night when you’re pressed for time.
Cast Iron pan (my favorite, go-to pan or Dutch oven)
4-6 thick cut (1 1/2-2 inches) bone-in pork chops
3 sm/med apples (I use gala, but you can use what you like) cored and chopped
10 strips bacon cut into bite size pieces (before cooking), I actually used the whole package. There’s always room for more bacon! “Those who think bacon is bad for them should give up thinking!”
1 med red onion, chopped
3 sage leaves, finely chopped- 3 cloves garlic (1 TBSP jarred, chopped garlic)- 2 stalks celery finely chopped- 1/4 cup chopped pecans- 2 tsp brown sugar- a few red pepper flakes (not too much now)
2-3 TBSP Lard
Salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika
“LET’S GET COOKING”
Set oven to 350 degrees
Melt lard over med heat and add bacon pieces. When bacon begins to crisp, add chopped apples and chopped red onions. Cook until the onions are softened and add garlic, chopped pecans, sage, pepper flakes and brown sugar. Cook an additional 3 minutes, remove from heat and transfer mixture to another pan or bowl to cool down.
While stuffing mix is cooling down, take your chops and using a sharp paring knife start at one end of the chop and wiggle the knife through it as you cut to the opposite end. You want to form a pocket 4-5 inches long and about 3 inches deep (about 70% of chop)
Next, season both sides of chops with salt, pepper, chili powder and smoked paprika. Put about 2/3 of the stuffing mixture in a separate bowl. The other 1/3 you have left over (if you don’t have to use all of it) you can put it on top of the chops later, but you don’t want the spoon/fork that’s touched the raw pork to touch the extra stuffing mixture.)
Take each seasoned chop and using a spoon or fork put as much of the stuffing mixture into the pocket as it will hold. Place toothpicks through chop to hold all that deliciously goodness in. Repeat with other chops. If you run out of stuffing mixture, use the other 1/3 you have set aside.
Heat the cast iron pan/dutch oven over medium high heat. Place chops in pan and sear 2 minutes on both side. Transfer pan/dutch oven into preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. If you have any stuffing mixture left over, evenly distribute it on top of chops and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Remove pan and let chops sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!