I have not prepared many “meat & potatoes” meals of late. (I have a constant fear of spelling potatoes wrong after the whole Dan Quayle incident … perhaps one of the few moments of political history that has stayed captured in my mind … but I think I got it right this time.) They aren’t my favorite on a good day and add in a warm, summer day and you won’t see this fare coming out of my kitchen. But this recipe recently caught my eye, perhaps because of the goat cheese and perhaps because I had half of a bar of cream cheese nearing the end of its time.
It ended up being a really nice flavor combination for this girl who rarely is impressed by chops. I find that many times meat stuffing ends up either overpowering the meal completely or becoming totally bland. This does neither, infusing the chops with the flavors of thyme, tomato and that delicious, tangy goat cheese.
Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Spinach
Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 20 min. Yields: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.