Ok. So, here's the deal. It's Lent and I've given up deep fried food for 40 days, which is laughable because I fry anything and everything. We'll see how I work my way around that tiny roadblock in my quest for culinary happiness. On top of that, Fridays are meatless during Lent, so I've decided that Thursdays will be meat-filled Thursdays in preparation for meatl-less Fridays.
Last night, I had one huge boneless porkchop. After butterflying it and thinly pounding it, I stuffed it with sauteed apples, onions, toasted almonds, and buttered breadcrumbs. I closed the stuffed porkchop, cut in half, and re-shaped the two halves into rounded stuffed pork bundles. Adding pork onto pork, I wrapped the bundles with parsley-lined bacon strips, securing them with wooden skewers.
After seasoning the chops with salt, pepper, and minced fresh rosemary, I satueed them in a smoking hot oiled cast iron skillet until they were browned with a caramelized well-seasoned herbal crust. I removed the chops to a casserole dish and deglazed the skillet with apple brandy, apple cider vinegar, and chicken stock. Once the pan sauce reduced by half, I poured it over the stuffed crusty porkchops, covered the dish, and baked it a 350 degree oven for an hour.
While the chops braised, I split two yellow squash in half and sliced four slits into each bulbous end of the squash halves, creating squash fans. I cut a roma tomato in half, sliced it lengthwise, slid the tomato slices into the squash slits, seasoned them with lemon pepper, and placed them in the oven to bake alongside the stuffed porkchops.
All that effort deserved a wine break. I obliged. After an hour or so, give or take 30 minutes, ( I lost track of time), I plated the tomato/squash fans and carefully nestled the smothered stuffed porkchops beside them. After dousing the chops with the remaining pan sauce, I topped them with alfala sprouts, toasted almonds, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples.
They were fork tender, moist, and succulent. The meat fell apart in a luxurious way, disintegrating into the luscious sauce. Although the stuffing was lost in the onslaught, the parslied bacon added salty grassy crispness while the sprouts offered petite bursts of watery freshness.
The tomato/squash fans didn't stand a chance against the saucy spoonable melting porkchops. They were a fine garnish and something to be admired before pushing out of the way to get to the the good stuff.