About pork chops

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SS> But I don't even bother buying pork chops any more, I don't want SS> to put leather on the table. :( Don't know if you caught my post to Marlon or not, Sylvia, but the problem is not with you, it's with the pork. Now that pork producers are looking for a leaner, lighter product, pork requires much less cooking than is recommended in most cookbooks. Most cookbook authors recommend cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160-175 to eliminate any possible danger of trichinosis (a problem that's been eliminated in commercially produced pork anyway). These temperatures are WAY too high for the leaner version, which tends to resemble shoe leather if treated this way. Try cooking your chops to an internal temperature of 140 or so instead (still well done, but not overcooked), and you'll have MUCH better results.

My favorite thing to do with pork chops is to stuff 'em. Allow one double-thick pork chop or two thinner chops for each person you're feeding.

Make a stuffing with cornbread (or one of the cornbread stuffing mixes), chopped onion, chopped celery, a small can of whole kernal corn, a bit of chicken broth. Simmer the onion and celery in the broth until tender, and add the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, a generous amount of either sage or thyme.

If using double-thick chops, cut a deep pocket in the chop, and insert the stuffing. If using thinner chops, don't stuff yet. Either way, melt a small amount of shortening in a frying pan, and quickly brown the chops (brown thinner chops on one side only).

Place the chops in an oven-proof baking dish. (If using thin chops, place one chop, browned side down in the dish, top with a scoop of stuffing, and top with another chop, browned side up).

Place just enough liquid in the pan to cover the pan bottom, cover the pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven until the chops reach an internal temperature of 140 (35-60 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat).

Any leftover stuffing can be baked separately.

I usually make a pan gravy with the drippings from browning the chops, plus some flour and chicken broth (pork stock would be better, but I never seem to have any :-). If you don't want gravy, just deglaze the baking dish with more chicken stock, and spoon this liquid over the chops.

Sorry not to offer an official recipe here, but this is one of those home-style dishes that I just throw together. Have never measured anything for it, and I suspect it's never QUITE the same any time I make it. Good stuff, though. At least it's one of Mooseface's favorites :-)

Kathy in Bryan, TX

From: Kathy Pitts

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