In 2011, Chris and I went on a weekend camping trip at Tunnel Mills near Lake Tahoe. Chris volunteered to figure out the food and I didn’t object. So what did we eat during those three days? Polish dogs with buns. Polish dogs without buns. Polish dogs with ketchup. Polish dogs with mustard. Oh, and polish dogs with relish. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good polish dog – especially from Costco; seriously, $1.99 for a polish dog AND a drink is a freaking steal – but having polish dogs three meals a day for three days straight is total overload. My taste buds were screaming for something else. Not to mention I couldn’t eat another polish dog from Costco for at least four months afterwards.
I love Chris but that boy is not allowed to buy food for camping anymore. A year later, we went on another camping trip. The conversation about food went a something like this:
Chris: Do you need help getting food for the camping trip?
Me: I don’t think so. I can manage.
Chris: I can help if you need it.
Me: No, really. I got it.
I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up all the food because everything is fresh, packaged in small portions, and pre-washed or pre-marinated so that food prep was minimal. As I went through the meat aisle, I came across gorgeous thick cut pork loin chops. They were actually apple almond stuffed pork chops. I immediately starting salivating at the sound of them. Clearly, I had to buy them.
We ate like kings. The highlight was definitely the stuffed pork chops and I gave myself a pat on the back for going with my gut (pun intended). The only problem we ran into was cooking the pork chop properly. We made do with what camping gear we had: I seared the pork chops on the camping range, then wrapped them in aluminum foil to finish off on top of the grill. It was still delicious. The pork chop did a great job of balancing sweet, salty, and savory but I felt I could make a more decadent one because everything is better that way! That’s how I came up with the gorgonzola pecan pear stuffed pork chop – whew, what a mouthful (pun intended, again)!
Gorgonzola Pecan Pear Stuffed Pork Chop
- 2 thick cut pork loin chops bone-in (about 1 – 1.5 pounds total)
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1 ounce proscuitto, small cubes
- ½ pear, diced into small cubes *
- 1 small handful of pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 small handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- ½ cup bread crumbs (or Panko)
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 can chicken broth (low sodium preferred)
- Olive oil
Optional brining step: Prior to cooking, mix 1 quart of water with ½ cup salt and ½ cup sugar and mix until dissolved. Place pork chops and brining mixture into a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 1 hour. TIP: Brining will keep the pork chops from drying out during the cooking process for a more juicy bite; especially for thinner cut pork loins.
Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a medium pan, melt butter over low heat and caramelize onions until onions are soft.
- Increase the heat to medium and add proscuitto and cook for 1 minute.
- Add pears and pecans to the saucepan for a quick saute; salt and pepper to taste. Put contents into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Add Dijon mustard, gorgonzola, cranberries, and bread crumbs to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
- Place pork chops on a flat working surface and pat dry with paper towels.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut a horizontal slit to create a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop across from the bone.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the outside and inside of the pork chop to season.
- Place stuffing inside a large ziplock bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag and pipe half the stuffing into each pork chop. TIP: I recommend packing down the stuffing with a spoon as you pipe so you can really get a lot of stuffing into each pork chop.
- Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and add pork chops when skillet is hot. Brown the pork chops on each side for about 2 minutes per side.
- Place the pork chops in a baking dish.
- Add the chicken broth to the skillet where the pork chops were browned and heat over medium-high heat. Scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan to incorporate into the broth.
- Add chicken broth to the baking dish with the pork chops and bake in oven covered with aluminum foil for about 45 minutes.
* To keep pears from oxidizing, place pear cubes into a bowl of cold water with a little bit of salt until ready to use.
Sinfully delicious. You can make a gravy sauce with the remaining cooking broth afterwards as well.
- Remaining cooking broth in cooking pan
- 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Remove pork chops from the pan and place on a plate and use a foil tent to keep warm.
- Pour about a third of the liquid into a saucepan and heat over medium heat (you may need to use a strainer to separate the liquid and solids leftover in the pan).
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the liquid and whisk until the flour has thickened and the gravy is smooth. If the gravy does not thicken enough, add the remaining flour.
- Slowly pour in the remaining liquid to the saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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