Thankful Thursday {featuring Spa Stuffed Pork Chops and Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous}

Good morning and happy thursday to you! Today is our special post of

What are you thankful for this week? For me…

  • I’m thankful for old friends from our childhoods and getting back in contact with them this week!
  • I’m thankful for the many brides recently interviewing and booking with us, thank you so much for supporting our small business, brides!
  • I’m thankful for God opening a window when a door has been closed, for me it was a BIG window!
  • I’m thankful for the woman at Kroger’s, who offered to walk me to my car with her umbrella because it was raining so hard.
I know, that last one was pretty neat eh? That kind woman certainly put a whole new meaning to the “Southern Hospitality”!

This week’s Thankful Thursday post is featuring:

Spa Stuffed Pork Chops and Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous!

Years ago, I was watching Giada on the Food Network (she’s awesome, isn’t she?) and I remember the episode to this day, she was featuring dishes that were healthy, light but full of flavor. Her nickname for the episode was Day Spa foods. One of her dishes were these stuffed pork chops, filled with spinach, goat cheese, herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes. Pan-fried then drizzled with a lemon-mustard sauce. I knew I had to give it a try, they looked too good to resist!

Little did I know that when it comes to stuffed pork chops, it definitely takes practice. And it is a very messy job. It took me several tries and failed miserably, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Awhile back, I gave up in figuring out how to make pockets in the pork chops, and just serve the stuffing on top. But this week, I was feel adventurous and I decided to give these pork chops one last try. However this time, I would do a few things differently – and due to those differences, these pork chops turned out amazing and looked just like the ones Giada made. I was tickled by how well they turned out! Finally…success!

Here is what I will share with you in my learning experiments this time around:

  1. Instead of getting already-cut pork center-loin chops (about 1 inch thick), get the whole pork loin. Not only is it cheaper, but you can cut the chops to your thickness choice.
  2. Use a small and SHARP paring knife when you are making the pockets for the stuffing. This knife I used was only a few months old, and very sharp. In the past, I used duller knives and there was a huge difference. The process was cleaner and easier.
  3. When you are making the pockets, use short strokes and look where you are stroking. When I was doing this, I had my eye on the inside and stroked along the stretched pieces. This is much easier seen than explained…so if you are knew at this, I recommend watching some youtube videos on this. That is what I did.
  4. Simply pan-frying these thick pork chops will not cook all the way. In order to get that beautiful sear on the chops yet ensure the chops are cooked enough, I have found that searing them on high heat then putting them in the oven for only a few minutes does the trick. They turned out moist, cooked and seared! Best of both worlds!
  5. About the sun-dried tomatoes…in the past, I always used the canned ones. This time, I went to the fancy deli area and scooped up the fresh ones. It costs only a little bit more, and the taste was out of this world – the canned ones had nothin’ on these fresh tomatoes! Do yourself a favor, if you are going to make this fancy dish, go with the fresh tomatoes from the deli.

I truly hope you enjoy this recipe. It does take some time and it does take a lot of ingredients, but it is oh so worth all of it. This is a restaurant dish you can easily make at home!

Spa Stuffed Pork Chops and Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous

Amie's Stuffed Pork Chops and Couscous

Amie's Stuffed Pork Chops and Couscous

Here’s what you’ll need for the chops:

  • Olive oil
  • 6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 10 oz. (1 frozen box) of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp ground thyme
  • 3 oz. garlic and herb goat cheese (you can always use regular, but this stuff was the best)
  • 1 box of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 6 pork loin chops, already pocketed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Here’s what you’ll need for the couscous:

  • 2 cups uncooked couscous
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, diced
  • One bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (ingredients follow)

Here’s what you’ll need for the vinaigrette:

  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

 

Here’s what to do for the pork chops:

  1. Warm one tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper and ground thyme. Cook until combined, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add goat cheese and cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Stuff each pork chop with spinach stuffing, only use enough for stuffing to be slightly poking outside of the chop. Season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, and mustard. Set aside.
  4. Set oven to 375 degrees, get a large cookie sheet, spray with pam.
  5. Warm another tbsp of oil in the same skillet, over medium-high heat. We want this pan hot enough to get a good sear! Place pork chops on the skillet, sear each side, a little less than 2 minutes on each side. Then place on the cookie sheet, and place in the preheated oven for 7 minutes. If you still see a lot of pink in the thickest park of the chop, place in for maybe a minute longer.
  6. In the skillet, pour in the lemon mustard sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Using a whisk, scrape off the pork bits on the bottom of the pan to get that extra flavor in the juice. Keep on gentle boil for another 10 minutes, or until juice has reduced by half.
  7. To serve, drizzle the sauce over the pork chops.

Here’s what to do for the couscous:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil, add salt.
  2. Add the couscous and quickly stir, then move off the heat and cover. Let it sit for about five minutes or until you can fluff it with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, get your food processor out. Put all ingredients for the vinaigrette inside and blend until smooth.
  4. Take couscous out of the pan, put in serving dish, and add chopped green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir in vinaigrette.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

God bless,

Amie Hurst, of Lindley’s Photography

Jared Lindley the proud owner of 3LP & Lindley’s Photography

Winner of the knot Best of Wedding Photography Georgia 2010 & 2011.

A Professional photographer with a creative style. Serving Warner Robins, Macon, Byron, Perry, Atlanta, Roswell, Buckhead, Marietta & all of the Middle Georgia Area with professional photography.

Weddings – Senior Portraits – Boudoir – Family portraits

www.my3lp.com & www.Lindleysphotography.com

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