Inspired by Tyler Florence, who used a similar brine on pork chops and an apple stuffing in pork roast - here I’ve combined the two for a simplified, more do-able recipe – Apple Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops.
The biggest issue with cooking chops, especially those from the loin, is they can be dry. Not so with these succulent beauties - the short brine adds flavor and moisture; the stuffing inside ensures they are moist through out. The glaze lends beautiful color to the outside of the chop with out running the risk of over cooking.
These are so good, I am simply at a loss for words.
Apple Braised Green Cabbage is a perfect foil for the chops, milder than the many of the Red Cabbage Braises so popular today. Not only a bargain side, its a fairly healthy one, as well. Use old, dry bread in the stuffing, is another money saver. My cost for the meal? Around $4.10, scroll below to see how I put my strategies to work.
Apple Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops, serves 4
- 2 cups cold water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 6 peppercorns
- 4 1″ thick pork chops (or larger) about one and 3/4 pounds, total
- 1 1/2 cups coarse, dry bread pieces
- 1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth or white wine or combination (to moisten stuffing)
- 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (apple juice boiled down to a thick consistency will work or apple jelly)
In a non aluminum mixing bowl, combine brine ingredients and stir until salt and sugar is dissolved. (Kosher salt is best, but table salt will work because this is a short brine; on longer brines, avoid salt with iodine. Use 2/3rd the amount of the kosher salt.)
Cut a pocket in the pork chops with a paring knife for the stuffing, carefully bringing the pocket as close to the edges of the chop as possible without going through. Try to keep the opening about 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide – if the whole side of the chop is opened up, the stuffing may fall out. Add chops to the brine and open the chops a bit once inside the brine. Brine for one to two hours in the refrigerator.
Saute apple, celery and onion in butter until they are tender and have given off most their liquid. Mix stuffing ingredients: bread, apple, celery, and onion. Add broth or wine until the stuffing is barely moist, gently folding with fingers or spoon.
Remove chops from the brine and quickly rinse, then pat dry inside and out. Discard brine. Stuff each chop firmly with a quarter of the stuffing mixture.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven proof skillet, lightly brown one side of the chops in a little olive oil or butter, turn over and glaze with the apple concentrate. Place in oven and bake, uncovered, until chops are cooked through and center of stuffing is hot. Stuffing should register 160 degrees. Baste chops with apple concentrate every 10 minutes.
Total baking will be 20 to 30 minutes for boneless, 35 – 40 minutes for bone in. Drizzle the pan drippings left in the pan over the chops before serving.
Prepare grill for indirect heat. Place stuffed chops on grate away from het. Cover grill and cook until chops are cooked through and center of stuffing is hot. (It should read 160 degrees on thermometer.) Baste with apple concentrate every 10 minutes. Cooking time will be 25 to 35 minutes for boneless, 40 to 50 minutes for bone in.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Strategies in Use, bringing the cost of the Stuffed Pork Chops to about $2.00
- Pork: Pork Chops are often expensive in the store, even in the family packs – dirty little secret? Many of the “better” chops, especially the thick ones, are sliced Pork Loin. This is great news – Pork Loin is sold in large packages for 89 to 99 cents a pound at a low, and $1.99 is still a decent price.
- Put out 12 to 20 bucks and buy a Pork Loin and slice your own chops “to order.” Make an assortment of thicker ones for special meals and thinner ones for quick dinners, package them and stack them in your freezer. (Sharpen your knife first!) A pound and 3/4′s is about $1.25.
- Bread Crumbs: I try to never let bread go to waste at my house, and make my own crumbs in the food processor with the stale pieces and heels. Cost – this is an item any sane person would normally pitch, so I don’t count it…if you must count, it’s somewhat of a variable. Two slices of plain old Sandwich bread? 10 cents?
- Apple: Look for apples in the fall at the best price, and watch for them in January and February to a lower cost. In January, the apples in the cold storage need to be sold off quickly, and there is a glut of apples coming out of gassed storage. Bought at 88 cents a pound, an apple is about 5 1/2 ounces. Cost: 30 cents.
- Celery: Keeps a long time; if you have room in your fridge, buy several when on sale. Mine was 98 cents, so a stalk is about 10 cents.
- Onion: You’ll see me say this over and over – buy a bunch when they go on sale. They’re cheapest in the fall, but even cheaper on sale. Put them in a brown paper bag in a cool place. You’ll need to check for any that may be getting shoots and use those first. Cost for one onion, about 11 cents.
- Butter: Currently a good sale price in our area is about $2.00 a pound. Stock up and keep in your freezer. Cost for 2 tablespoons: 6 cents.
- Chicken Broth: I always make my own with leftover bones and parts and scraps of vegetables, and, even though it costs something, it’s nominal.
- Wine: The stuffing, cooked inside the chops is so flavorful that I generally omit the wine.
- Apple Concentrate: Buy this on sale with a coupon – price ranges from free to a 50 cents or so a can. If you use this, make sure not to waste the remainder: Just estimate the amount you’ve removed and mix up the rest for juice. Because I had apple jelly in the fridge, I simply used that. Cost 10 cents.
Time Saving Strategies: The stuffing can be doubled and half frozen in Ziplocs for another batch at a later date.
Put Your own Spin on It:
- Add a little sage or poultry seasoning to the stuffing
- Add some herbs to the brine
- A quick pan sauce or gravy could be made in the pan and served over rice pilaf or potatoes
Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Glaze is the kind of dish my family really gets excited about – it’s a little more meat than I normally like to serve, but still comes in under budget and looks “fancy.” It costs a whole lot less than the grocery store prestuffed chops, and the taste is amazing – the salty pork is a perfect foil for the sweet apple stuffing.
Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Glaze made February 2012