Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple and Fig Stuffing and a Creamy Cider Sauce

stuffed pork chops

Stuffed pork chops turn traditional pork chops into something very special, especially when they’re filled with apples and dried figs. This combination was made for each other with hints of fresh sage tucked into the filling along with a creamy cider sauce, this recipe has FALL written all over it!cider sauce

The sauce is dreamy mix of apple cider, broth, Dijon mustard and mascarpone cheese, when all those flavors come together, along with the fig and apple it  intensifies the taste of the stuffed pork chops in all it’s glory.

stuffed pork chops

The quality of your pork has a lot to do with this dish as well, I use a heritage breed of pork, thick cut and bone in, it really does make a big difference, it’s so juicy and never dries out. For the stuffed pork chops you’ll want at least 1 1/2 inch thickness so as to make a nice pocket for all the stuffing.

Most butchers will be happy to cut the pocket in for you if you ask, but it’s also very simple to do yourself.

This meal is elegant enough to serve for a special dinner and easy enough to make during the week.

fall veggies

I like to serve a nice platter of roasted veggies on the side with the pork chops, here I used cauliflower, shaved brussels sprouts, baby rainbow carrots and some delicata squash which by the way can be done way ahead of time, even the day before.

Take your pork chops to the next level with this perfect fall meal, I promise it will become a family favorite.

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Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple and Fig Stuffing and a Creamy Cider Sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 bone in, thick cut good quality pork chops about 1½ inch thick with pocket cut in for stuffing
  • 1 apple, skin on chopped
  • 4 dried figs, chopped
  • 2 dried figs sliced to place into cider sauce
  • 1 small stalk celery, sliced
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • small handful mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, chopped with extra for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ to ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • CIDER SAUCE
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons, smooth Dijon
  • 2 tablespoons, mascarpone cheese
Instructions
  1. To prepare the pork chops, either have your butcher make the pocket or you can easily do it yourself by slicing each chop from the fat side almost to the bone with a sharp knife, make it wide enough so you can place alot of stuffing inside. salt and pepper both sides of chop and inside pocket.
  2. In a small saute pan with a knob of butter cook the celery, garlic and onion until soft as well as the mushrooms if using them.
  3. Add to the pan the sage, figs and apples, toss, then add the breadcrumbs, if it looks dry add a teeny bit of broth to moisten.
  4. Stuff your chops with the mixture and secure it closed with a regular wooden skewer ( you can see mine in the photo). You might have extra stuffing depending on how big your chops and pockets are.
  5. Heat oven to 375
  6. In a heavy bottom cast iron skillet drizzled with olive oil, or any pan that is oven proof ed, brown your pork chops until crusty and golden on one side then gently flip them over crusty side up, place a few sage leaves on top of each and put the whole pan into the oven.
  7. Cooking times will vary according to ovens but the internal temp should read near 145.
  8. Remove pan from oven, onto stove top and place pork chops on a plate loosely covered with foil.
  9. Then with a whisk deglaze bits with broth, cider on low temp, then whisk in Dijon until incorporated then lastly the mascarpone, whisking until the sauce is nice and creamy.
  10. Turn off the heat, add in the sliced figs to the sauce and return the chops into the pan, spooning a little cider sauce on top of them.
  11. Serve immediately with a side of your choice!

 

 

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Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes Shaved Garlic and Feta

shrimp with feta

Whoever said that cheese and seafood is a bad combo? Well I’m here to say that it isn’t so, especially in this dish that features shrimp with feta cheese.

This is a variation of the famous Greek Saganaki, there are so many variations of this dish from the ingredients to the way it’s prepared but it’s the Greeks that deserve full credit for this delicious combination of flavors.shrimp with feta

This is a one pan wonder that’s surprisingly easy to make for a mid week meal and equally as special enough for entertaining, all you’ll need is crusty bread to scoop up and dip into that incredible sauce!shrimp with feta

I’ve made this several times and my tomatoes of choice are roasted cherry or grape tomatoes, I prefer them over canned I think it really makes a difference, fresh is best and fortunately for me even in the colder months I’m able to find decent tasting cherry or grape tomatoes.

I can’t stress enough the importance of using quality ingredients in this dish, a good block of Greek feta should be used, not the crumbled pieces in a container that you can buy, heavens no, also you’ll want to use some beautiful wild caught shrimp.

FYI, if you’re lucky to have a Trader Joe’s near you my favorite shrimp of choice currently is their frozen wild Argentinian large red shrimp, peeled and deveined, it tastes so amazing, I always keep a couple of bags in my freezer, but of course any fresh or frozen wild caught shrimp will do.

The vessel you make it in is important also, it’s best when made in a shallow baking dish something like an au gratin pan, you wouldn’t want to use anything too deep.

It’s bold and flavorful with a flavor combination that you’ll be craving, I can’t wait for you to try this!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes Shaved Garlic and Feta
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails kept on. ( It's important not to have any moisture on your shrimp so I like to layer my shrimp between paper towels to soak up any moisture and to insure they are dry with both fresh and frozen.)
  • 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 large cloves of fresh garlic, shaved
  • 1 cup of good quality authentic Greek feta, block style
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • parsley or basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a foil lined rimmed baking pan place your slice tomatoes, shaved garlic and a good drizzle of olive oil making sure to cover and toss tomatoes with it, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until tomatoes burst and juices flow.
  3. While the tomatoes are roasting toss the shrimp into a bowl with salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Take your roasted tomatoes and place them into your shallow baking dish making sure to get all those garlicky juices with a rubber spatula to help.
  5. Position and nestle your shrimp into the garlicky tomato mixture and juices, place into your 400 degree oven and roast until you start seeing the shrimp turn pink.
  6. Pull it out then crumble the feta all around in medium chunks.
  7. Finish cooking it with a quick minute or two under your broiler to get a little golden on top.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil.
  9. Enjoy, and don't forget the crusty bread!

 

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Noodle-less Loaf Pan Butternut Squash Lasagna

noodle-less butternut squash lasagna

Butternut Squash is hands down my favorite winter squash, come fall I can’t get enough of it and you’ll always see one or two sitting on my kitchen counter. Butternut squash is so versatile, you can put it in just about everything and believe me I have!

If you look through my blog you’ll see different ways that I’ve used it over the years, and one of the ways is in a lasagna. Butternut squash has a slightly sweet, buttery nutty flavor and it goes wonderful with creamy ricotta and a béchamel sauce, it’s so decadent and delicious. 
butternut squash

This is the time of year when my garden is full of sage and butternut squash and sage make a perfect pairing together, I especially love to infuse my béchamel sauce with garlic and sage, it’s dreamy.loaf pan lasagna

If you search my archives you’ll see that I once made individual butternut squash lasagna’s minus the noodles in a free form manner.  For this time I wanted to try making it in a loaf pan which allowed me to get many layers and some nice height, and this version is minus the noodles as well. The loaf pan holds everything nicely together and gives the lasagna a little more structure since the pasta is not there to give it more body.

I lined my loaf pan with parchment, (which is optional) because honestly I wanted to un-mold it and take a nice photo to show you, but you have to really cool it down to be able to remove the parchment without destroying your lasagna, so I would suggest make it the day before or early in the morning if you want to do the same, chilling it for an easy removal, then just warm it and serve it with warm béchamel, otherwise make it without the parchment.

noodle-less butternut squash lasagna

Either way it’s magical and tastes like a dream and trust me you won’t miss the pasta at all, in fact I prefer it without because all the flavors are true and not soaked up by the pasta.noodle-less butternut squash lasagna

The loaf pan makes you able to create multiple layers of goodness,  just remember to let it set before cutting into it so all the creaminess can tighten up a bit, just like a traditional lasagna it’s a mess if you cut into it hot, the layers get lost.noodle-less butternut squash lasagna

I hope you try my noodle-less, loaf pan butternut squash lasagna, I promise you won’t miss the pasta one bit!

Follow along with me on Instagram to see what else I’m making during the week.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Noodle-less Loaf Pan Butternut Squash Lasagna
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf pan, buttered, lined with parchment which is an optional step for removal of whole loaf
  • NOTE; If you don't want to remove whole lasagna out of the pan, omit parchment.
  • 2 butternut squash, peeled and sliced lengthwise (as much as possible, then into lengthwise pieces) roasted at 375 on a rimmed baking sheet at 375 until softened up a bit but still al'dente
  • 3 cups, ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • BECHAMEL SAUCE
  • 2 cups, whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons, flour
  • 4 tablespoons, butter
  • sprig of sage, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roast sliced squash a head of time so it can cool down. Set aside.
  2. Mix up the ricotta mixture with the chopped spinach, egg, grated cheese's, both pecorino and mozzarella, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. TO MAKE THE BECHAMEL SAUCE;
  4. In a saucepan, melt butter, add garlic then whisk in flour until it incorporates and turns golden, not dark brown.
  5. Pour in a few tablespoons of the milk, whisking until moistened.
  6. Add the remaining milk whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken and right before it starts to bubble on the sides, take it off the heat.
  7. Now the layering process begins, add a couple of tablespoons of bechamel to the bottom of pan, then a layer of squash, enough to fit all the edges and middle of the pan. Spread ricotta layer on top, smooth with the back of a spoon or an off set spatula, add two more tablespoons of sauce and repeat layers until you reach the top of the loaf pan, reserving the prettiest looking pieces of squash for the very top.
  8. Spread the top with bechamel and sprinkle with pecorino and top with some sage leaves before baking.
  9. Bake 350- 375 uncovered until cheese is melted and heated through, and golden on top, ovens vary with time, check after 30 minutes.
  10. Let it set up before cutting, mine set for 2 hours.
  11. You should have extra sauce to serve with it, if you want more bechamel just double the recipe.
  12. Enjoy!

 

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