Here, big, juicy pork chops are stuffed and sauced with a flurry of fall flavors — and it’s all cooked in a single pan. They are filled with a savory-sweet mixture of sauteed apple, onion and kale, done just enough so the apple becomes tender, the onion mellows and the kale wilts a bit.
To stuff the chops, you simply cut a slit in each piece of meat to create a pocket, then pack in the mixture. You can use toothpicks to help keep them sealed, but I don’t bother; I never mind a few bits of filling tumbling out during cooking, like an overflowing cornucopia. The meat is cooked in the same pan as the filling, until it is browned and just cooked through. (Pork loin chops are quite lean, which keeps this recipe in the healthful zone, but it’s important not to overcook them.)
The sauce is made in the same pan by simmering a fruity riesling wine and flour-thickened broth, then spiking that with tangy Dijon mustard and a sprinkle of paprika. Viewed together — the amber-colored sauce, the golden-brown chops, the bursts of red apple and green kale from the stuffing — the colors on the plate celebrate the season and its wonderful flavors.
Apple and kale stuffed pork chops with riesling mustard sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red apple (unpeeled), cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 cups lightly packed fresh baby kale leaves, stemmed and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ¾-inch-thick center-cut, bone-in pork loin chops (about 8 ounces each)
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¾ cup riesling
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the apple and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring, until tender.
Add the garlic and kale; continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the kale is just wilted. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl to cool.
Cut each pork chop horizontally to the bone, making a pocket for the stuffing. Stuff the apple-kale mixture into the pockets in the pork chops, skewering with toothpicks as needed. Season the outside of the chops with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in the same skillet you used for the apple-kale mixture. Put two pork chops in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned. Then cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of the oil and the remaining pork chops, transferring to the plate and covering them.
Carefully wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat, then stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to form a roux that is a shade darker. Stir in the paprika, then add the wine, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow the wine to reduce by about half, then whisk in the mustard and the broth, return to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
Divide the pork chops among individual plates. Pour the sauce over each portion and serve.
Makes 4 servings. Nutrition per serving: 370 calories, 28 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 470 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar.
Krieger writes for The Washington Post.