Learn the secret to juicy, flavorful pork chops with this easy recipe. One of the best uses ever for leftover stuffing!
Pork chops are a great weeknight meal, but even if they’re cooked to the proper internal temperature, they can be rather bland, especially if they’re prepared too simply. Another problem with pork chops is that they’re typically lean cuts of meat with very little fat so it’s easy to overcook them. This recipe for Stuffing Topped Pork Chops is a case study in how to handle these two challenges and it’s also one of the best uses ever for leftover stuffing.
To combat the “bland” factor you need to amp up the flavor big-time because pork chops just aren’t as inherently tasty as other types of meat. Interesting marinades, sauces, and rubs are usually my “go-to” when looking for ways to make pork chops taste better, but with this recipe I got even more creative by using savory stuffing as the flavor boost, and it has the added benefit of making the dish more visually appealing. After all, who can resist all those crispy, golden, delicious stuffing bits! You can use any kind of leftover-stuffing for Stuffing Topped Pork Chops but it should have a little bit of moisture in it so it holds together. If it’s too loose and falls apart when you press it into the chops, mix in a little bit of egg wash (beaten egg) to get it to hold together. My recipe for Best Ever Gluten-Free Stuffing works great in this recipe (as pictured) and holds together nicely on the chops without any added egg.
Now let’s tackle the other problem with pork chops – the ease with which they can be overcooked. You’re less likely to overcook fatty cuts of meat because the fat essentially bastes the meat as it cooks, but, as noted earlier, pork chops are usually quite lean, and as a result, don’t have this advantage. Thinner chops especially have little margin for error and can go from perfectly done to dry, tough, and tasteless very quickly. That’s why an essential step in this recipe for Stuffing Topped Pork Chops is brining – a technique whereby meat is submerged in a water bath that’s been spiked with salt, sugar, and sometimes other herbs and spices. Restaurant chefs know that brining is the key to succulent meat, and that it provides protection against overcooking lean cuts. Brining breaks down some of the proteins in the meat allowing it to better absorb liquid and flavor, and with all this extra moisture in the cell walls of the meat, it’s much less likely to dry out. The end result is tender, juicy meat even when it’s overcooked. To learn more about the science of brining meat, check out this short article.
Pork chop problems solved! Serve up these chops with 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce, apple sauce, or your favorite gourmet mustard. Here’s another pork chop recipe you might enjoy.
If you make Stuffing Topped Pork Chops don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
Stuffing Topped Pork Chops
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 2 center cut, boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick (total weight about 1-1.5 lbs.), and trimmed of excess fat
- 1 cup leftover stuffing
- Combine the sugar and salt in 1 quart of cold water. Stir until all the salt and sugar is dissolved. Brine (immerse) the pork chops in this mixture for 30 minutes. (You can let it sit out at room temperature or store in the fridge while it soaks.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or liberally spray with olive oil cooking spray.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine, blot them dry with paper towels, and place them on the baking sheet (discard the brine).
- Top each pork chop with 1/2 cup of stuffing, pressing it into the pork chops so it holds together and stays put.
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
- Serve with cranberry sauce, applesauce, or honey mustard.