Cranberry-apricot stuffed pork chops

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time40 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
40g dried cranberries
40g dried apricots, coarsely chopped
10g tablespoons whole almonds, toasted and chopped
15g unsalted butter, softened
0.25 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1 medium shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 rib pork chops, 5cm thick
3 tbsp vegetable oil
60ml Calvados, Cognac or brandy
240ml chicken stock, homemade or reduced salt ready-made stock
120ml double cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1) Put the dried fruit in a small bowl. Pour 60ml boiling water over the top and set aside for 10 mins to soften. Drain, reserve the soaking water.

2) In a mini-processor process the fruit with the almonds, butter, fennel and half the shallot until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small sealable plastic bag or pastry bag. Snip about a 1cm opening in the corner of the plastic bag.

3) With a small paring knife make a pocket in each chop, starting from the rounded side. Set the tip of the bag inside the pocket and press a quarter of the stuffing into the chop. Repeat with the remaining chops and filling.

4) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Pat the chops dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Sear one side of the chops, until well browned, about 5 mins. Use tongs to hold the chops and sear the edges of the chops. Turn and brown the other sides of the chops, about 2 mins.

5) Transfer the chops to a baking sheet and bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the centre of the chops registers 63C, about 15 mins.

6) While the chops are in the oven make the sauce. Drain the oil from the saute pan. Turn off the heat, add the Calvados and the remaining shallots. Return the pan to the heat, taking care since the alcohol may flambe, and cook over a high heat until the alcohol is reduced by half and is slightly syrupy. Add the stock and the fruit soaking liquid and boil down until the liquid is reduce by about a third. Add the cream and continue to simmer until it thickens slightly. Whisk in the mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7) Add any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet to the sauce. Divide the chops among 4 warm plates or a large platter. Pour on the sauce and serve.

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