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pork-chops-with-stuffed-tomatoes.jpg

Tonight’s dinner was both simple and impressive- simple for the chef, impressive for the bf. Does weeknight cooking get any better than that? I named these pork chops “Autumn” since they share the plate with mushroom-stuffed tomatoes. Stuffing, in any form, epitomizes fall to me, and here, crammed inside hollow tomatoes, it enriches a would-be tasteless fruit this time of year.

The pan sauce is simple and efficient and there’s no need to follow my recipe if you don’t have cherry tomatoes on hand (they can be kind of pricey this time of year). Instead, replace the cherry tomatoes with the chopped innards you removed from the large tomatoes and save yourself 4 bucks. The point of adding tomatoes is twofold: color and acidity. While the pan sauce has thyme in it, the red perks up the color while simultaneously balancing the stock-based sauce. The sauce, having been thickened with flour, needs the acidity to draw it out of “dullsville,” as my mother would say. No need to go there- sliced cherry tomatoes, tomato scraps, or even some lemon juice, will keep you far away.

No story necessary for this dinner, its just good, fresh, healthy food. Oh, and the stuffed tomatoes are an excellent vessel for getting more veggies into your child’s diet (or your boyfriend’s!). An untrained palate will never know there are mushrooms hiding in there, but the body that mouth feeds will reap the benefits. Enjoy! : )

Autumn Pork Chops with Stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
2 3” wide tomatoes, insides removed so only 1/2″ thick shell remains
3 large mushrooms, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced, separated in two equal portions
2 ribs celery, diced, separated in two equal portions
1 tsp fresh thyme (dried can be substituted), separated into 2 equal portions
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp parmesean, grated
1/2 cup (about 8-10) grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tbsp flour (all purpose works well)
salt and pepper to taste
oil for sauteing vegetables (about 2 tbsp)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place cover a small cookie sheet or ovensafe dish with a layer of aluminum foil.

2. In a small saute pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add mushrooms and one portion each of onions and celery. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Saute until golden over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.

3. Turn the heat to low, add 1/2 cup chicken stock and mix well.

4. Take the pan off the heat, add breadcrumbs and 1/2 tsp thyme to pan, and once the mixture has cooled slightly, add the egg and mix well.

5. Using a spoon, distribute the stuffing evenly into the two tomatoes. Pack tightly and place the tomatoes on the aluminum foil covered baking sheet and transfer to oven. Cook for 25 minutes or until stuffing is golden.

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Stuffed tomatoes ready for the oven!

6. While tomatoes bake, place heavy skillet over high heat and season pork chops with salt and pepper. Add pork chops to pan and leave undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, until topsides look very moist and the sides look cooked halfway up. Flip and cook other side until you have reached your desired level of doneness.

7. Remove pork chops to clean cutting board to rest and redistribute juices; reduce heat to medium high and add tomatoes and remaining portions of onions, celery, and thyme to the pan. Cook until golden, add flour and incorporate well, then add remaining chicken stock and raise heat to high.

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Thickening the pan sauce

8. Cook until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and turn off the heat. At this point the stuffed tomatoes are ready, so take them out of the oven and place one on each plate. Top each with 1 tbsp parmesean. Place one pork chop on each plate and spoon desired amount of sauce over each. Serve and enjoy!

-M : )

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