stuffed pork chops
you will need:
4 bonless pork chops
1 small or 1/2 a large acorn squash*, diced
1/2 a medium onion, diced
8 leaves of fresh sage
salt and pepper
sharp paring knife
heavy skillet (i'm partially to cast iron, but use what you've got)
saute onion and squash in a tablespoon or so of oil. after 2 minutes, give half of your sage a rough chop and add it to the pan. season with salt and pepper. continue to saute, stirring often 4 more minutes. remove from heat and allow to cool while you prep the pork.
prepping the pork:
it is difficult to stuff something which has no cavity, so you must create one. if raw meat grosses you out, i am sorry, but it is a necessary evil. for this portion of the preparations, you will need a sharp paring knife. now, i know paring knives are generally reserved for fruits and veggies, but in this case, it really is the best tool for the job. cut a small slit in the side of you chop. when i say small, i mean small. about an inch or so. any larger and the stuffing will fall out as it cooks, and this is not what we want. now, use your paring knife to enlarge the cavity inside the meat without making the opening slit any bigger. be careful not to cut through the meat on any edge, but make sure the stuffing will have a home within a 1/2 inch or so of all sides of your chop. this can be a little tricky, but be patient, work slowly, and you will be fine. when you're done you should have something that looks like this:
stuffing the chop:
this can get a little messy, but it is totally worth it. i have no fancy tools for this job, i simply shove the stuffing into the prepared pork chop with my fingers. if you have a better method, i'd love to hear about it. be careful not to overstuff the chop. you want enough squash in there to have some in each bite, but not so much that it is overflowing.
preheat oven to 350 degrees. season your chops with salt and pepper and press a sage leaf into one side, it will stick (without the aid of any adhesive even!). preheat a skillet to med-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. place chops, sage side down, into the pan. once they're down, don't move them until they have had a chance to sear, so make sure you position them accordingly. work in stages if you need to. after about 2 minutes, flip and repeat the process on the sage free side.
transfer chops to a baking dish and add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.** remove foil and continue to bake 5 minutes. voila! dinner!
i think the pork chop looks like he's wearing a hat. maybe, a beret. i guess he's french (which would explain why he looks so grumpy...)
*butternut squash can be used as well, since the flavor and texture are surprisingly similar (almost indistinguishable)
**if you are using an oven proof skillet (like cast iron) there is no need to transfer to a baking dish. simply add the water to the skillet, cover, and bake. since the skillet is already hot it will cook faster so reduce your cooking time to total 15 minutes instead of 20