Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cubano Stuffed Pork Chops

One of the best things about living is the Midwest is that you're surrounded by farmland. Coincidentally that is also one of the worst things-- flat land as far as you can see and hours to get from one place of civilization to the next. But let's focus on the good, okay? Farmland = fresh produce at the farmers' market during spring, summer, and fall! Farming at the university = fresh meat from the meat lab! A couple of weeks ago I had my first visit to this infamous meat lab on campus. One of my friends had been telling me about it since I started here but she finally convinced me to go. It was beautiful. There were wonderful cuts of meat from pigs and cows as well as fresh eggs!

I decided on some roast beef, mushroom and swiss sausages, and thick cut pork chops. The sausages and roast beef were pretty darn delicious, but the pork chops were AMAZING... so tender and fresh. I doctored them up to resemble a cubano sandwich-- stuffed full of swiss cheese, ham, pickles, and mustard and coated with crunchy panko. The original recipe from Cooking Light used a pork tenderloin and although I'm sure that would be good, but the pork chops allowed for quick cooking time and individual sized portions.

Cubano Stuffed Pork Chops (adapted from Cooking Light)
1 thick cut boneless pork chop, butterflied (about 1/2 lb)
1 slice deli ham
1 oz slice swiss cheese
1 small dill pickle, diced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

Separate the two sides of the pork chop. Using a sharp knife, slice into the pork chops to butterfly again but do not cut through. You want to have two butterflied chops that are about 1/2 inch in thickness.

Spread 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard over the open side of the chops. Place half of the swiss cheese slice on each chop, top with half of the ham slice and half of the diced pickles. Close the chop by pulling the top side back over the bottom and secure with toothpicks. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

Place the panko in a shallow bowl. Crust the stuffed pork with the panko, pressing to make sure it sticks. Place on the baking sheet. Coat the top of the chops with the cooking spray.

Bake 15-20 minutes until a thermometer stuck into the pork chop reads 155-160 F.

Serves 2.

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