Occasionally I love to make a spectacular herbed pork roast or succulent, stuffed boneless chops - so when I'm in the mood for that, I always look for great deals at the markets and I buy in bulk. Then, I portion and freeze the pork for inexpensive meals down the road, ultimately saving my family money.
So, after finding this great purchase one week for a 10 lb. cryovaced pork loin with a $10 off coupon, costing me only $8 at my local wholesale merchant (Costco)...I was in portioning and freezing heaven. I cut two roasts of about 3 lb. each and then the rest I divided into 1 1/2 - 2 inch pork chops which I used for this recipe and froze the remainder.
The stuffing is a classic Italian basil pesto with a touch of Mexican Ranchero, Cotija or Feta cheese along with a few pine nuts for texture. Please read my notes on the cheeses at the end of the recipe if you are not familiar with Mexican cheeses and how they taste. In this recipe I used up my creamy Ranchero cheese.
Boneless pork chops 1 1/2 inches thick
1/4 cup Ranchero, Cotija or Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup basil pesto
2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
1 tbsp. Pine nuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar (approx.)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1. Make a "V" shaped pocket with a sharp knife in the middle of the pork chop. Coat the chops inside and out with a drizzle of olive oil, rubbing it in as you go. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the outside of the chops and drizzle the aged balsamic vinegar all over, rubbing that in also.
2. In a small bowl combine the cheese, pesto, tomatoes, pine nuts and mix them well together. Stuff this mixture into the little pocket of the pork and skewer with a couple of toothpicks the best you can, to hold the filling. Heat a little olive oil over a medium to high flame and sear the chops on both sides until golden brown.
3. Transfer the chops to a shallow baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes until you have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. or until just cooked through and the juices run clear if you don't own a thermometer.
Ranchero cheese is creamy and can be crumbled, not only for this recipe, but also as an alternative to other cheeses in salads. Feta is used in many Greek recipes and is crumbly and salty to taste. Cotija cheese is another Mexican cheese which is very similar to Feta cheese, only the saltiness is mild.