Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pork chops stuffed with spinach pesto and sundried tomatoes: A Chop of Many Motives

In contemplating my next culinary experiment for this blog, I was swamped with numerous thoughts. First and foremost was: "I am NOT Julie in Julie and Julia." That is important to get out there. I hate that movie. I HATE that character (Julie...AND Julia Child). And yet...I am grateful for their contribution to what I call the culinary arm of the feminist movement.

For many years I was hesitant to cook. Not only because I had no experience, but because I didn't want to be branded as that "barefoot in the kitchen" type of housewife. For me, cooking was tantamount to fishing a smoldering bra from a 1960s bonfire.

But suddenly, cooking became IT. Women, men. It didn't matter. It was suddenly cool to cook. And yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but I jumped on the bandwagon. I sadly didn't figure out earlier that  cooking could be rescued from 1950's chauvinist purgatory and practiced as an act of creation. Of brilliance.

Not that I'm a brilliant cook. I just now have more respect for the act of cooking, and no longer view it as a metaphorical ball-and-chain for women.

That being said....

The next thought upon figuring out what to experiment with for this blog entry was my relationship with pork...

I am not Jewish and have nothing religious against eating pork, and yet throughout my life I've had some suspicions as to why God forbade the Israelites the delight of bacon and a good ole chop. And my conclusions were always this: "Pigs are nasty. They are cannibalistic. They eat EVERYTHING. They wallow in mud....and something to do with William Golding's creepy book."

Yet, as I get older, and money is tighter, I realize that the white-red meat is lean, cheap, and versatile!

So tonight, improvising (extensively!) on a recipe once read, I bought two butterflied centre-cut pork chops and this is what I did....

Made home-made spinach pesto:

In the food processor, I blended the following...

2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Added shredded white cheddar and sun-dried tomatoes:

Once the pesto was finished, I added...

1 cup grated white cheddar (farmer brick cheese)
8 sundried tomatoes (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)

Made a winter puree:

1 celery root (peeled and diced)
1 cauliflower head (disected)

Put together in a steamer and steam for approximately 20 minutes.
Then mash and add cream, butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fried stuffed pork chops:

Slit 2 pockets per side in each butterflied center-cut pork chop.
Filled both slits with pesto/tomato/cheddar stuffing.
Fried for 4-5 minutes each side in a sautee pan on medium high
with one part butter and one part olive oil.

Made a sauce:

Once the pork chops were finished, I added the following to the sautee pan (on

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon's zest
1/2 lemon's juice
2 TSP Dijon mustard

De-glaze the sautee pan and reduce the sauce for approximately 8 minutes.


Serve chops with winter puree, peas, and the dijon/lemon sauce.


You might think "too many flavours."  However, the filling, while delicious, has mild but distinct flavours, as does the puree, whereas the sauce (having both Dijon and lemon) has a lovely zing that brings the whole meal to another level.

Cooks of the world--UNITE!!!

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