Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Stuffed Pork with Lemon Asparagus Couscous

Cooking this and writing it up in mid-March, Summer seemed to actually be on the way. For once my cooking thoughts weren’t 100% set on comfort food, comfort food and more comfort food and I stumbled across this recipe for stuffed pork chops. They seemed perfect for the spring days we’ve been enjoying for the last week or so. With a little tinkering I resolved to have them very soon.

The couscous is, I think a pretty good companion to them: nice and light with an equally light and summery feel.

I’ll almost certainly cook this combination again and perhaps try a few different things next time: not because I think changes are needed per se but I think it will be interesting to see what works. Black olives and / or lightly toasted pine nuts may make a fine addition to the chops: perhaps griddling the asparagus and other veg for the couscous.

Feta & Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops
serves 2

olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
120g frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
30g feta cheese, crumbled
1½ tbsp cream cheese
¼ tsp lemon zest
2 boneless loin pork chops, trimmed
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp dried oregano

Preheat the grill.

Heat a large frying or sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add a small splash of olive oil, swirling around so it covers most of the surface.

Add half of the crushed garlic and fry gently for about a minute. Sprinkle in half of the salt and pepper plus the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Continue to sauté until the moisture evaporates.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses and lemon zest.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each pork chop to form a pocket and stuff each with the spinach mixture.

Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the chops and put them on the rack of a grill pan or a lightly greased roasting pan.

Combine the remaining garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and oregano in a bowl and stir well.

Brush half over the pork and grill for 6 minutes. Turn the chops over, brush over the remaining sauce and grill for a further 5 minutes or until done.

Lemony Asparagus & Tomato Couscous
serves 2

120g couscous
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
75-100g asparagus
2 tomatoes, seeded & diced
zest & juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Prepare the couscous according to the package directions, making sure to fluff and separate the grains when the couscous is done.

Meanwhile cook the asparagus in a shallow pan of lightly salted boiling water for around 3 minutes, until just tender. Plunge into cold water to cool and stop cooking.

Drain and carefully dry the spears and cut into small lengths.

Add the asparagus, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste to the couscous. Toss carefully to combine.

Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed and add a little extra oil if the couscous seems dry.

Serve immediately alongside the chops.

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