This month marked the first time I was able to participate in Secret Recipe Club. I tried to join quite a while ago but the group was full so when I received an e-mail announcing that they had an opening I was thrilled to take part. Essentially, each month you are assigned another blogger and challenged with making one of their recipes. They have no idea who will be cooking from their blog until everyone’s posts are revealed on the exact same day at the exact same time. I was intrigued because it seemed like a great way to meet, albeit virtually, even more bloggers and to try even more new recipes.
I was given Cooking in Stilettos, which was fun because while I am sure I have visited her blog a few times, I’d yet to make a recipe. With my love of cheese it is no surprise that a recipe for Stuffed Pork Chops with Ricotta and Spinach stuck out to me. Separately, I love ricotta and I loved pork, but I’d never thought about how they’d work together. This was my chance to find out.
Aly’s recipe involved making a filling of ricotta, spinach, shallots, garlic, and Parmesan to be stuffed inside butterflied chops. In essence, the filling is a bit like a deliciously creamy spinach dip. I made a few changes. First, I sized the recipe down for two people since only my friend and I would be having dinner. I also added more cheese than the recipe originally called for because I adore cheese and used frozen spinach since it was cheaper at my local grocery store. I also used 2 center cut pork loin chops because they are a little leaner. Since there is no bone attached you have to be a bit more careful that you don’t overcook them and make the meat tough and dry, but by lowering the oven temperature from its original 350 to 325 degrees F they cooked up beautifully.
Still, even with these changes I think the end product was still pretty close to what was intended and it was quite delicious. The pork cooked up moist and tender and the filling was perfectly sumptuous. The cheese made it creamy and rich, while the garlic, onion and spinach gave it great flavor and a bit of freshness. I could have probably forgone the pork all together and just eaten the filling with a spoon or a piece of pita.
Recipe originally by G. Garvin – Turn Up The Heat via Cooking in Stilettos
-1 tablespoons unsalted butter
-4 teaspoons chopped garlic
-4 teaspoons chopped shallot
-8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
-Salt and pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup ricotta cheese
-2 center cut pork chops, butterflied and pounded so each are similar in thickness
-2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In an oven-proof saute pan or cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot; sauté until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in spinach. Remove from pan to a bowl and let cool.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the Parmesan and ricotta cheeses; mix well.
Season chops on both sides with remaining salt and pepper; pat seasonings into meat. Secure with tooth picks and use a fork to push any filling that has leaked out back into place.
In the oven-proof saute pan or cast iron skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chops on both sides in hot oil until golden brown.
Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.