Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Instant Pot: Stuffed Pork Chops

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Finally, a night where I can cook at home! I've been craving pork chops lately and decided to make a special dinner of Stuffed Pork Chops for my family. Using some random ingredients in the fridge, I made a stuffing with blue cheese, roasted red peppers and spinach. It came out deliciously and the extra step of brining my pork chops made them super tender and moist...

Brining is probably a term many hear during Thanksgiving. Essentially, it's when meat is marinated in salty water before cooking. Taking the time to brine meats makes a big difference. It tenderizes the meat and adds some flavor too. When it comes to stuffing foods, be it pastas, calzones or even meats like pork chops, I found that fillings can be used interchangeably. In this case, the combination of blue cheese, roasted red peppers and spinach is a favorite of mine that I used even to top pizzas. I knew it would work just as well stuffed in pork chops. Preparing this in my Instant Pot sealed the moisture and flavor in, resulting in a great and easy weeknight meal. To serve with my pork chops, I oven roasted potatoes with a garlic & herb butter.



Stuffed Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

4 bone-in pork rib chops (12 to 14 ounces each), 1 1/2 inches thick

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
6 cups water

Stuffing:

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
5oz (1/2 a standard package) frozen spinach, thawed
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon melted butter

To prep and brine the pork chops:

Insert sharp paring or boning knife through side of chop until tip touches bone. Carefully cut opening to width of about 1 inch. Swing knife tip through chop to create pocket, being careful not to widen opening. Turn knife and swing blade in oppposite direction. The finished pocket should be as large as possible. Dissolve sugar and 1/4 cup salt in 6 cups water in large bowl or container; submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the stuffing, in a bowl, combine the ingredients until fully incorporated; set aside.


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Remove chops from brine and rinse under cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Place one-quarter of stuffing in pocket of each chop. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.

Press SAUTE on the IP and add oil and butter; heat until shimmering. Arrange chops in IP and cook without moving chops until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip chops and cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Add 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the IP.


Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 10 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 10 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. 

When the display reflects L10:00 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).


The IP will automatically default to the WARM setting.


Using tongs, transfer chops to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 10 minutes (internal temperature will climb to 165 degrees). Serve immediately.



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