“Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches. Stones were formed to be quarried and to build castles; and My Lord has a very noble castle; the greatest Baron in the province should have the best house; and as pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have asserted all is well talk nonsense; they ought to have said that all is for the best.”
_ _ I was always the “good kid” in high school– I never attended a party until my senior year and even then I was usually the DD (ahh the life of a minivan driver). I didn’t imbibe, rarely broke curfew and was WAY too terrified to even attempt something as illicit as shoplifting… Any aura of “coolness” I may have accrued despite authoring a food blog, has officially been destroyed with these admissions but c’est la vie (“la vie” har har). Despite having absolutely no penchant for illegal activities, I have always had an intense fascination with criminal shows, from Law and Order in its many forms, to CSI and Criminal Minds.
_ _ One night during my freshman year of college, I had returned to Ithaca on a holiday break, and because my friend’s parents were sick of having us in the house, we scandalously went to hang out in a local park after-hours. When a cop car cruised by, everyone panicked and dashed for the woods– two boys ran the 4 miles to the other side of the forest before taking a wide loop back around; one girl stopped about 5 feet into the trees, realized we were being ridiculous and strolled back to the car to wait for the rest of us; and one other girl and I crouched low to the ground several yards in and I made her close her eyes with me, convinced that if the police were looking for us they would see the light reflecting off our eyeballs… really, Anna? In retrospect, we all should have recognized that loitering wasn’t exactly going to get us arrested, but the mass mentality of fear lead us all to act absurdly… and I learned that I had been taking in more lessons from those TV shows than I realized– it’s the smallest details that get people caught!
_ _ Perhaps because of this mind set, I don’t like using recipes from other people without giving due credit– it’s intellectual thievery! So it’s all that much more exciting to me when I make food sans recipe and it turns out amazing: I give you, stuffed pork chops with a savory applesauce paired with a light salad.
*Note: I used a crock pot to make the applesauce (which took a little extra time), but feel free to make the sauce on the stovetop if you don’t have a crock pot, or 2 hours to wait for the applesauce to finish.
FOR THE PORK CHOPS
3 (.4oz) Pork Chops (you want thick ones that you can slice open for the stuffing)
1/4 cup Apple, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup Smoked Gouda, grated
1/8 cup Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt and Pepper, for seasoning the meat
FOR THE APPLESAUCE
3 Apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp Rosemary, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp Honey
1/8 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
Pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)
1. To get the applesauce started, preheat the crock pot to high while you peel the apples, and chop the onion and rosemary. Put all the ingredients together in the crock pot and stir to mix them all together. Put the lid on and allow it to cook down until the apples are soft (about 2 hours) stirring every 20 minutes or so. If you’re doing this on the stove, just cook on low and stir more frequently to prevent burning.
2. About an hour and a half after you’ve started the applesauce, preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. Begin preparing the pork chop stuffing. Cook the bacon down in a large sauce pan and remove it when it’s nice and crispy, reserving the fat in the pan. Chop the apples, grate the gouda and in a bowl, mix them and the crumbled bacon together.
4. Make a deep pocket in each of the pork chops– Don’t cut them totally in half. I made a slit 2-3 inches wide and then ran my knife around the inside, so that there was a good amount of room for the stuffing, but it wouldn’t spill out.
5. Reheat the pan that has the bacon grease in it to medium-high while you stuff the pork chops. Season the meat with some salt and pepper and lay them in the pan to sear each side until it has a nice golden brown color. I used tongs to flip them so I could make sure the stuffing was staying inside.
6. Wrap the pork chops into little packets with tin foil and put them on a baking sheet. Allow them to finish cooking in the oven for about 18-20 minutes– I get very paranoid about cooking meat, but the tin foil helps let me make sure things are cooked through, while not drying them out.
7. When the chops are in the oven, put the applesauce mixture into a blender and puree until very smooth. When the pork is ready to be served, spoon the sauce onto a plate and place a pork chop on top. I would recommend serving it with a side salad to lighten the meal.