Kale Stuffed Pork Chops

We get a lot of kale in our shares, and it is delicious- this recipe uses the regular curly kale- but any of the varieties would work.  If you just happen to be getting a little tired of sautéed kale this is a fun way to mix it up. This recipe seems rather involved because there are several steps- but in the end it is actually really easy, and looks very impressive on the plate…

…though you can’t tell from my pictures. I promise they will get better!

This dish starts with brining the pork chops- which you can skip if you like, but I do it every time I make pork chops at home because when I do this they never end up chewy or dry.  Basic brine is 1 quart of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of kosher salt- dissolved and then the pork is soaked in this solution for up to 5 hours, but a minimum of 45 minutes.  This brine can also be used for chicken- or anything else you would be so inclined to brine.  It takes two seconds to whip together, and then the pork can have a nice soak while the rest of the work is being done.  Make sure you put your brining pork in the fridge.

Remove the stems from the kale and then blanch- after you’ve wrung out all the water run your knife through it going lengthwise and widthwise to create bite sized pieces.  Set the kale aside for later use.

Next you want to brown the mushrooms, the trick is to do it over high heat, and don’t mess with them.  So heat 2 T. of Canola oil over medium high heat, once the oil is hot put the mushrooms in and leave them alone.  After a couple minutes they will start to brown and then you can toss them around a little to brown the other side.  Once the mushrooms are cooked reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and scallion.  Garlic will burn quick and then taste terrible- so be cautious of the heat and the timing.  After about a minute remove everything from the pan and put it into a medium sized bowl- which you will make your stuffing in.

Remove your pork from the brine and pat dry.  Now we need to make a place for our stuffing to go so “butterfly” each pork chop by cutting though the middle (starting on the fatty side), and stopping before you cut all the way through- this will create a little pocket for your stuffing.  Leave the pork out on the counter while you finish the stuffing so that it can loose a little bit of its chill before cooking.

Once the mushroom mix has cooled a little add in the kale and everything else: breadcrumbs (I use whatever bread ends are left over in my kitchen- and give them a quick whir in the food processor), cheese, parsley, salt/pepper, and the eggs (beat them up a little before adding them to the stuffing mix).  Using your hands or a spoon mix everything together until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and everything has the same texture- slightly moist – but on the dry side, not mushy.

Open each pork chop and spoon in about 1 cup of stuffing- then pull the top layer over the stuffing.

To tie closed cut 4  16″ pieces of butchers twine, one for each piece of meat.  Fold the twine in half leaving a large gap between the overlapping strands- so it looks like a loose hitch- place the pork chop on top of the hitch and pull the loose ends around the width of the chop and through the loop.  Then take the loose ends and wrap them around the length of the chop, bringing them back up to the top and tying them off.  Cut any excess twine.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, In a large frying pan heat 1 T. of canola oil over medium high heat.  If you have a large enough pan to sear all four at once go ahead, other wise do two at a time.  Starting with the top side down, sear each pork chop on both sides.  When you sear the pork put each piece in the pan leave it there and let it brown until it releases easily- if it doesn’t want to come up, it’s not ready yet.  Once all of the meat is seared place all pork chops back in the frying pan with the top side up.  Add the butter and let it melt, use a spoon to drip some of the butter over the tops of each pork chop.  Add the wine and a handfull of parsley and put the pan in the oven.

Allow chops to cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until they reach a temperature of 140 degrees.  Once they are done remove them from the pan and let them rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes.  This is how I cook pork chops wether they are stuffed or not- so it’s a good method to keep in mind for other dishes as well.

Remove the twine, if there is any kind of sauce left in the pan you can use this to baste the pork chops before serving them.  Then angle of this picture is weird but you can see how well the stuffing stays put inside the pork chops.

Kale Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 3 Quarts Water (Divided: 1 qt. for pork brine, 2 qt. for blanched veg)
  • 1 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Thick Pork Chops (about 2)
  • 1lb Kale (blanched and roughly chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil (divided: 2 T for mushrooms, 1T for searing pork)
  • 1lb Cremini Mushrooms
  • 4 Scallions (chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parsley (chopped fine)
  • 3/4 cups Bread Crumbs
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 small Handful of Whole Parsley

Directions

Step 1
In a large bowl add salt and sugar to 1 qt. of water, stir to dissolve. Place pork chops in water and refrigerate until ready to use. Minimum of 45 minutes- up to 5 hours.
Step 2
Blanch kale and set aside
Step 3
In a large saute pan heat 2 T canola oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and allow to brown and toss until evenly cooked. Reduce heat to medium and add scallion and garlic. Cook for another minute or less- being cautions not to burn the garlic. Remove mushroom mixture from the pan and allow to cool slightly in medium sized bowl
Step 4
Add kale, breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, egg, and salt/pepper to mushroom mixture. Mix together until well incorporated, should be on the dry side but still holding together with out being mushy. Set aside until ready to use.
Step 5
Remove pork from the brine and pat dry
Step 6
Starting on the fatty side, slice each pork chop in the middle stopping about 1/2" before you cut through the other side, creating a "butterfly"
Step 7
Stuff each pork chop with about 1 C. of stuffing mix. Using butchers twine tie each pork chop by creating a large half hitch loop around the width of pork chop, then pull the loose ends throuhg the loop and all the way around the length of the pork chop- tying together on the top
Step 8
Preheat oven to 425, in an oven proof sauté pan, heat 1 T canola oil over high heat. Once hot add pork chops to the pan and sear each side, starting with the top, for 2-3 minutes- until browned.
Step 9
Add butter to the pan, allow to melt then add the wine and a handful of parsley- place pan in the oven and cook until internal temperature of the pork is about 140° - 145°. Remove pork chops from the pan, place on cutting board and allow to rest for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

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