It’s easy to get in a rut when it comes to preparing certain types of foods. It’s not so easy figuring out a way to get out of said rut. Sometimes I manage to make it happen. Yay me!
Typically when it comes to preparing meats, I tend to rely on my stand-by premade blends of seasonings. Mix them with a glug of olive oil and slather the mixture all around, bada-boom bada-bing and dinner is ready. Easy peasy, and no one seems to mind. At least not that anyone says.
However, I’ll occasionally be inspired to try something new. Often times it revolves around having an excess of an ingredient and realizing I’d better use it up soon. You know the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. Yeah, it’s true.
When I made a monster sized quantity of pesto this summer, that became my motivator. I used some with eggs, I used some with salmon, I tossed it with plain pasta, I ate it straight out of the bowl (uh, why not?), and then I made these pork chops. Life is good.
Pesto Stuffed Pork Chops Recipe
Preheat oven to 350° F. You can either use my recipe for pesto, which I highly suggest 😉 , or you can use premade. I’ll try not to be offended.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a 1-2 inch long slit in one of the longer sides of each pork chop. Use the tip of the knife to cut a pocket in each pork chop, creating a pocket almost as big as the pork chop itself. Make sure that you do not poke out of the other sides. See the diagram below for how the pocket should be shaped when you are finished.
Pour the wine into the bottom of a shallow roasting pan that is just big enough to hold the chops without them being crowded. You want just enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan. Stuff each pork chop pocket with pesto as full as you can without it gushing out the opening. Don’t be stingy or you will only have pesto flavored chops! Rub a little pesto on the outsides of each pork chop, as well, and place all the chops you are preparing into the shallow roasting pan.
Place the chops into the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. The time needed will depend on the thickness of your chops, as well as your preference for how well done they are. Current USDA guidelines allow pork to be cooked to roughly the same temperature standards as beef. Check one of the chops after the 20 minutes to see if it is done, but much longer than 30 minutes and you will have pork flavored sawdust. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook from residual heat after they are out of the oven, too!
After the chops have been removed from the oven, cover with foil and allow them to rest at least five minutes. Then take them from the pan and place on a platter. Pour off the liquid from the pan into a bowl or gravy pitcher and whisk it to blend the juices. Ladle the juices over the pork chops when serving. Any extra juices that don’t get used over the meat would make a great boost of flavor for most soup recipes, or used for some of the liquid for cooking rice or other grains, so don’t toss it!