Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops

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Some days just call for comfort food…real, hearty, stick to your ribs comfort food. On those days – days where the snow continues to pile up and we begin to doubt that spring will ever come – stuffed pork chops just seem like the right thing to make.

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This recipe looks fancy, and it is. It’s definitely a “company’s coming” sort of dish, and it does take some prep time. But it’s not all that tricky. Spoken from a girl who was afraid to attempt anything so fancy or tricky until recently.

The truth is: I cook from scratch every single day now. So much so, that it takes a really impressive dish to truly wow my family. Homemade dinners from scratch, whether it’s pizza, or mac and cheese, or calzones have become commonplace rather than intimidating. But this one, albeit initially intimidating, turned out to be fun to make and really delivered the wow.

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The key is to get some nice thick chops – boneless or bone-in are both fine – and use a really sharp knife to form the pocket without cutting all the way through. I used our filet knife that we have for cutting up venison. It cuts through the chops with ease, just like butter, and allows you to carve a nice, roomy pocket for all the stuffing goodness.

The fun part is deciding on the endless possibilities for stuffing these little piggies. I had a triple pork stuffed pork chop in mind initially: pork sausage stuffed inside the pork chop which is then wrapped in bacon….similar to my bacon wrapped meatloaf recipe. Another great combo would be wild rice, cranberry, and almond-stuffed chops. This time, I settled on sweet Italian sausage with mushrooms and bread cubes.

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Accompanying our chops were a side of asparagus roasted in olive oil and garlic and a dish of mixed berries topped with a cloud of homemade whipped cream.

Afraid to give this recipe a shot? Don’t be. It’s something you absolutely must try, and when you do, you’ll be happy to learn just how foolproof it is, and how impressed your family or guests will be.

It’s that good.

DSC_0160Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops

4 boneless, thick cut pork chops
2 Italian sausages, casings removed
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 garlic cloves
4 slices of bread, cubed and toasted
1 cup chicken broth (give or take)
2 Tbsp butter

In a large ovenproof skillet, sauté sausage until thoroughly browned. Add onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook a few minutes until veggies are tender. Remove pan from heat and mix in bread cubes. Add chicken broth a little at a time, mixing with each addition, until mixture is moist…but not soggy.

Using a sharp knife, stand the pork chops on their side and cut a pocket midway between the top and bottom of each chop, being careful not to cut all the way through to the other side. Spoon the sausage stuffing into the pork chop pockets. You will have some extra stuffing left over. Save that for later.

Squeeze the mouth of the pockets slightly and insert a few toothpicks from top to bottom in each one to hold the stuffing inside the pork chops.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Move remaining stuffing in skillet to another bowl. Clean out the skillet slightly with a paper towel. If a few bits of crusted on sausage remain, that’s perfectly fine. Melt the butter in the skillet and brown the pork chops over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Then, top chops with remaining stuffing and transfer skillet to oven. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on thickness, until meat thermometer registers as done. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, ladle pan juices over chops, and serve. Warning: Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks!

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