In my never-ending quest to rid myself of the freezer full of pork I bought, I’m having to find more and more willing victems…errr…guinea pigs…errr…dinner guests.
This Friday, we cooked dinner for our friend, Donna, for her birthday. Donna’s fun to cook for: she’s up for just about anything.
She’s also no slouch in the kitchen herself. So the pressure was on: no faking my way through this meal. I also wanted a bit of “wow factor.” I settled on making an emulsified sauce for the “wow.” Half way through dinner, I decided that a little chutney would add the punch I was looking for.
While I’m still working on getting that sauce right (I really need to buy a saucier pan), and I’m going to have to work on the color palette, the flavors all came together quite nicely on the palate.
Stilton-Stuffed Pork Loin Chops
4 pork loin chops (fairly thick, about 1 1/2″-2″)
1/2 cup toasted, crumbled walnuts
1/2 cup stilton cheese at room temperature
Sauce and Chutney
1 Beet, roasted
1/2 cup diced granny smith apple (peeled)
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 sprigs fresh thyme (stripped)
1 cup chardonnay and 1 cup water
8-10 cloves (ground)
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp butter
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 sprig thyme, chopped
Salt to taste
2 grinds black pepper
What To Do With It:
Start prepping the sauce first. Saute the onions for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. I used 1/2 tbsp of butter for this. Throw in 1-2 healthy pinches of kosher salt.
Separtely, roast your beet in the oven at about 350 (this takes about an hour–alternatively, you could nuke it for about 6 minutes).
Add the wine & water, apples and stripped thyme, and boil over medium-high heat.
While your sauce is reducing, sear the pork for about 2 minutes on each side over medium-high to high heat. You want a little bit of brown. Butterfly each chop.
Mix the walnuts and stilton together. Apply evenly to each chop (on the inside).
Fold the chops back together and secure with a toothpick.
Back to the sauce… Once the liquid is reduced to about 3/4 cup, strain it into a separate container and reserve. The apples and onions left in the strainter now become your chutney. Chop up your beet, add the ground cloves and a couple of grinds of pepper and get them good and mixed in.
Go ahead and put the chops in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes (I left mine in a little longer, on the advice of my sous-chef, and over cooked them).
When the chops are about 10 minutes from being done, things get busy. Melt the butter. (Experts will say to clarify it, as well, but I just left most of the solids at the bottom of the butter container, which worked pretty well.) In a pan with sloping sides, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 tbsp water until frothy.
Place the pan over medium-high heat and whisk the tar out of it, paying particular care not to let any one area rest (you’ll just end up with boiled egg yolk in your sauce). As soon as the sauce thickens (and this will happen very quickly, and it looks like pudding), count to 5 (still whisking), and remove from heat. Whisk for another 20-30 seconds more. This is called a sabayon.
Add the butter and lemon, using the whisk to gently stir them in. Now add the chopped thyme and the reserved liquid to taste, gently stirring the liquid in. Add salt, if necessary.
Plate by putting sauce on top of the pork chops, then the chutney on top of that. We served ours with a wild rice mixture (Safeway brand, no less) that was quite tasty, and a field green salad with toasted walnuts, stilton and fresh, diced apple on top and a raspberry-chipotle vinaigrette.
We paired this with a Perrin & Fils Cote du Rhone, which was very tasty.
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