Pork Chops Stuffed With Red Onion Confit, Dates And Dried Cranberries

Serves 6

6 Boneless Loin Chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
2 TBS Coconut Oil* (or canola, safflower or vegetable oil)

To Make the Stuffing:
1 Large Red Onion, sliced thin
1½ TBS Olive Oil
1½ TBS Sugar
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
½ Cup Dates, pitted and chopped small
3 tsp Fresh Sage, chopped
1 Cup Port Wine
3 TBS Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
½ Cup Walnuts, toasted
1 Large Navel Orange, cut into 6 equal wedges
Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste

1. Using a very sharp paring knife, make a cut in the thin layer of fat only as wide as the paring knife, but as deep as it will go without coming out the other side of the chop. Very carefully, cut the inside of the chop to the left and the right to make a pocket. Important: do not let the outside opening get any larger than the width of the knife.

2. In a large non reactive** frying pan over medium heat add the 1½ TBS of olive oil. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the onion and sugar and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep onions from scorching.

3. In the meantime combine the cranberries, dates and port wine in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cut two small vent holes. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside.

4. Squeeze the juice from the orange segments and reserve. With a sharp paring knife, remove the flesh from the orange peels and cut the peels into six 2” x 3” pieces.

5. Add the date/cranberry/port wine mixture to the onions. Add the reserved orange juice, lemon juice and sage. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture gets very thick. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in toasted walnuts and let mixture cool.

To Stuff and Cook the Chops:
1. Place oven rack in the lower-middle position of the oven, place a half sheet pan or baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 450° F (or 400° F if using a convection oven which is actually a better choice). While the oven is heating, rinse the chops well and pat dry with paper towels.

2. By eyeballing the stuffing mixture, put an equal amount into each chop. Now take one of those orange peels and very carefully place inside each chop to “seal” it from leaking. Season chops with salt and pepper.

3. In a heavy-bottomed skillet large enough to hold all 6 chops, heat the coconut, canola, safflower or vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it just begins to shimmer. Brown the chops 3 minutes. Very carefully, using tongs, turn chops over and brown the other side for 3 minutes.

4. Remove the sheet pan from the hot oven and close the door to keep in heat in. Carefully place the chops on the pan and return to the oven. Roast 7 minutes, flip chops over and roast another 7 – 8 minutes. (When they are ready to come out of the oven, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the stuffing should read 135° F). When this temperature is achieved, remove the chops from the oven and cover loosely with tin foil and let rest 10 minutes. The chops will continue to cook to a temperature of 145°F. Serve immediately.

Larry Irons is the author of the Bizarre Chef Newsletter. To sign up, send an email to: freenewsletter@bizarrechef.com.

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