This simple recipe was born one day when I had these lean thick-cut pork loin chops waiting to go on the barbeque and I wanted to keep the centers from drying out.
Hmmm….look in the fridge, look in the garden , the spice cupboard and voila!
Had some lovely gluten-free turkey pepperoni in the fridge and a herb patch just begging to be pillaged, plus my deadly secret spice mix that I now slather on everything (well not ice-cream — not yet) and whose secret I will reluctantly divulge. Promise to guard it carefully and pretend it is much more complex and exotic than it really is. (It transforms a skillet of simple sauteed onions and chickpeas into an out-of-this world, can’t-stop-eating-them experience, but enough of that, this is a pork chop recipe).
I’ve made these several times, with different combinations of herbs, and found you can’t go wrong.
Except if you use too much lovage.
I’ve learned that with lovage, less is definitely more. It can overpower a dish like its plant can overpower my herb bed. Every year I allow Andreas the pleasure of pretending he is a pirate or Crocodile Dundee type and he gleefully attacks the 6 foot high herb with his machete. The bush is like some alien killer plant and quickly regains another 3 to 4 feet in height before the end of the summer. But I wouldn’t do without its pungent celery-flavoured leaves to perfume soups, stews and salads. I just use it sparingly!
Herb-Stuffed Pork Chops
4 thick-cut pork loin chops (about 1-1/2 inches or 3.5 cm thick)
1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (lovage leaves – no more than a 1/4 of the mix, chives, tarragon, sage leaves, basil, etc.)
2 oz. (60 gm) extra lean turkey pepperoni (2 – 6″ sausages) or use chorizo or any other spicy sausage
1 large clove garlic
Super-Secret Spice Mix
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp sea salt
With a sharp knife cut a pocket into each pork chop, leaving about a finger-wide frame uncut on three sides.
In a food processor whiz together the herbs, sausage and garlic clove to make a rough and slightly chunky paste. (The sausage really helps to bind it.)
With your fingers, stuff about 1/4 of the stuffing into the open side of the pork chop pocket.
Mix the ingredients for the Super-Secret Spice Mix (idiot proof – just stir together in a small bowl – how easy is that?)
Rub this on each side of the pork chops and save the rest of the spice mix to use for other things.
Grill the pork chops until perfectly done. I’ll leave that up to you.
I served these to some dear friends we lost touch with and who called us up on their way through our area on their holiday. Grilled stuffed pork chops, cornbread and salad. What a wonderful meal it was. The food was good, the wine was flowing and the company was so great. There is nothing better than the reconnection with special friends. That’s what life is all about.