These cast iron skillet pork chops are stuffed with an apple, bacon and sage filling, seared, and then baked in the oven right in the pan for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
They say it's about the journey, not the destination - and nothing has ever been more true for the photo journey of these cast iron skillet pork chops.
I'm embarrassed to leave this photo on the internet, but we can't learn from our mistakes if we pretend they didn't happen. So here it is, in all it's ugliness: the original photo I took of this meal.
Look at that sad little wilted sage leaf in the background where I was trying to add some texture and color to the photo.
At least now these pork chops look like something someone might want to eat, rather than a dark, yellow-y, artificially lit photograph that's way too close up and unappetizing.
A lot of the time when I cook something, it just happens to match up with Whole30. That's normal when you eat paleo most of the time, which is what happened here. So yes, you can eat these on Whole30!
How to stuff pork chops
I love a good pork chop or steak, but they're always better when you stuff them with something. It's so much more rewarding than just putting the other ingredients together as a side, although I don't know why.
I think it has to do with cutting into it and there being something unexpected in it. It's like it takes it from ordinary to fancy and impressive. Go on, impress your guests! Stuff those chops!
Here, the apple provides a sweet crispness, while the bacon counters it with a bit of salt, and the sage provides some herby seasonal-ness. (Is that a word? It is now.)
How to make the stuffing
Prepping for this one is key!
For the filling, I went ahead and chopped everything up before making it, which made it go a lot smoother!
From there, I combined all my stuffing ingredients in a bowl and tossed them around until everything was good and coated.
How to make stuffed cast iron skillet pork chops
Next, pull out your pork chops and prep them to be stuffed. I try to think about this the same way I would butterfly a shrimp--you want to get the cut as deep and long as you can without cutting all the way through. The bigger the pocket you create, the more deliciousness you can fit inside!
Stuff the chops with as much filling as you can, then use toothpicks to "close up" the edge to keep it from spilling out.
Once you've got the chops stuffed and pinned up with the toothpicks, you're going to sear them on both sides in a cast iron skillet for a couple minutes on each side, then transfer the whole thing to the oven.
Make sure you've got a bit of cooking fat in the pan first so they don't stick!
You'll want to cook them for about 20 minutes, but depending on the size of your chops, you may need a bit more or less. The best gauge is to get them to an internal temp of 140°.
Make sure you're getting the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, and don't push it so far in that you end up hitting the stuffing instead. They should come out with a nice crispness to the outside with a tender, juicy inside. Enjoy!
What to eat with them
If you have stuffing mix left over, serve it alongside the chops.
- ½ c cooked bacon, chopped
- ¼ c fresh sage, chopped
- 1 medium Honeycrisp apple, diced
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- 4 bone-in pork chops
- 1 tablespoon pork lard or other cooking fat
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the bacon, sage, apple, EVOO, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Create a pocket in each pork chop by slicing lengthwise without cutting completely through. You want the pocket to be as deep and wide as possible while still keeping the chop intact.
- Stuff each of the chops with as much of the bacon, apple and sage filling as possible.
- Pinch the pork chops closed, using 2-3 toothpicks to close up the opening.
- Melt the pork lard in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sear the pork chops in the hot skillet, 3-4 minutes per side.
- Transfer the skillet with the pork chops into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chops reaches 140 degrees.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 45g