Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spinach & Pomegranate Stuffed Pork Chops with Smashed Red Potatoes

Hello, friends! How's everything? I hope you're well and having a wonderful week. It's nice to be writing again so soon :) You know, I love this time of the year--and I love all of the fun the seasonal produce available--it means new ingredients for me to experiment with; namely, pomegranate! I had never worked with one before today, so it was fun learning how to cut and de-seed it. (<--Is that a word?)
I had high hopes for these pork chops--on my way home, I was dreaming of beautifully stuffed, thick slices...but when I opened the package, I realized that what looked like two very thick pork chops in the store turned out to be three pretty thin pork chops. Oops. Nevertheless, I forged on.
The stuffing is made of a savory combination of fresh spinach, mushrooms, onion, and garlic, topped with pomegranate arils, for a pop of color and a burst of sweetness. From there, you'll sear stuff and sear the pork chops on the stove top, then finish them in a 375-degree oven.
The potatoes are extra easy--chop, boil, drain, and smash. I served this with a light spinach salad, dressed with balsamic vinegar and garnished with pomegranate. Overall, this was a comforting, easy, elegant dinner, and thanks to the ruby red pomegranate and bright green spinach, looks very festive too! :)
For pork chops:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (I used half of a small red onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped (I used half of a standard package of mushrooms)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (about two large handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (I used about half of a medium pomegranate)
  • 2-4 pork rib chops, loin chops, or boneless loin chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (yes, in addition to what's above)
For potatoes: 
  • 2-4 small red potatoes, washed and chopped (peeling optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat or skim milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375; cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside. For stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in an extra-large skillet. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms until onion is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add spinach to skillet; salt and pepper lightly and cook for 2 minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Add pomegranate; set aside.

Trim any fat from pork chops. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting horizontally from the fat side almost to the bone on the opposite side. Divide stuffing among pockets in chops. If necessary, secure the openings with wooden toothpicks. Sprinkle chops with additional salt and pepper.
Heat remaining olive oil in the same skillet and sear the pork chops for 3-4 minutes or until browned, turning once.
Place chops in a single layer in a baking dish just large enough to hold chops. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear. (My chops were thin, so they didn't take long at all).

Pork Chops Nutrition Facts-- Servings: 3-4 Size: 1 pork chop Calories: 393 • Fat: 29.5 g • Carbs: 12.5 g • Fiber: 1.8 g  Protein: 20.8 g • Sugars: 8.2 g

While pork chops are in the oven, boil some water in a medium saucepan and add the potatoes. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until very soft. Drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl with butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Smash with a potato masher; serve with pork chops.

Smashed Potatoes Nutrition Facts-- Servings: 3-4 Size: 1/4 cup potatoes Calories: 102 • Fat: 1.6 g • Carbs: 20.3 g • Fiber: 2.2 g  Protein: 2.5 g • Sugars: 1.3 g

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