Stuffed pork chops are old-fashioned fare, and I sometimes wonder if anyone takes the time to make them anymore.
Thick pork chops with a pocket cut into the side for stuffing make hearty, satisfying entrees. In this recipe by Amy Thielen, the stuffing is ham and cheese, specifically Gruyere. The recipe is from her new book, "The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes" ($35, hardcover, Clarkson Potter).
Thielen, a native of Minnesota, and host of her own Food Network show, "Heartland Table," has put together a collection of traditional Midwestern recipes, many with a modern twist.
Breaded Stuffed Pork Chops With Ham And Gruyãre
Makes 4 servings
4 (12 to 14-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops, each 1 1/2 inches thick
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
4 thin slices double-smoked ham
4 slices Gruyere cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups panko
4 fresh sage leaves
Canola oil, for frying
Give the pork chops a quick cure for added flavor: Mix together 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar, sprinkle this over both sides of the chops. Leave them to cure for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Blot the pork chops dry and cut a pocket into the chops all the way to the bone, and as wide as you can without cutting through to the side, leaving a 2-inch wide opening. Stuff each chop with 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese, cut to fit the pocket.
Prepare three shallow bowls for breading the chops: fill one with the flour, one with the eggs, and one with the bread crumbs and panko. Season the bread crumbs with one-half teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and lightly beat the eggs.
Lay one sage leaf on each pork chop. Carefully coat one chop at a time with flour, shaking off any excess; dip it into the egg, covering the surface and letting the excess drip off; and then bury it in the bread crumbs, gently patting to make them adhere.
Heat two large skillets over medium-high heat and add enough oil to reach one-half inch up the sides. When hot, add the pork chops and cook until the bottom turns dark golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side to the same color. Transfer the chops to a baking sheet fitted with a rack, and bake until the chops feel firm when pressed and a bit of cheese is beginning to escape from the pockets, about 5 minutes.