Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The BEST pork chops ever

Sunday was an awesome day. I missed going to church, but I enjoyed the beautiful white blanket of snow God gave us for just a short while. It's such a rarity so I try to enjoy it when I do see it. Since church was canceled, I had time to cook lunch AND have people over to help us enjoy it. Since it was so cold outside, this is what we had for lunch:

The BEST pork chops ever:

* 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
* 2 quarts water
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup kosher salt
* 4 fresh thyme sprigs
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 8 slices (about 3 ounces) prosciutto
* 4 slices (about 3 ounces) fontina
* 1/2 cup chicken stock
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
* 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
* 1 pound California red grapes, off the vine
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make a brine by combining the water, sugar, salt, thyme sprigs, nutmeg and cinnamon in a re-sealable bag. Add the pork chops, seal up the bag and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Drain the pork chops and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, make a horizontal cut into the center of each chop to make a pocket. Stuff a slice of fontina and prosciutto inside each pocket and secure with a toothpick. Set 2 large cast iron skillets over medium-high heat and add 2 TBSP of extra-virgin olive oil to each skillet. Add 2 chops to each of the skillets and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until golden. Turn chops, push to 1 side and set 1/2 of the grapes in each pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper before putting the pans in the oven. Roast chops for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through and cheese has melted. Remove from oven when done and set a porkchop and 1/4 of roasted grapes aside on each plate - keep warm.

Consolidate juices into 1 pan and set over medium heat. Add chicken stock to the pan, scraping the bottom to extract all the flavors.

We served the chops with Uncle Ben's Rice Vegetable Medley and a nice salad using Romaine lettuce, tomato and "homemade" ranch dressing (dressing mix + mayo + milk + blender). There were brownies with CoolWhip for dessert!

It was a great day with snow, friends and good food! From My Kitchen to Yours, Good Eats!

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