It was a gray, rainy day. We were sitting on the couch in pajamas feeling so pleased with ourselves that we didn’t have to go outside. Except that we did have to go out, because we had no food in the house. I loudly claimed I’d be happy to go out in the miserable weather, that I loved the gray rainyness, that going to the market would be a pleasure.
Four hours later we were standing in the rain at the market and no one was happy to be there. It was cold and wet, and my white pants were getting dirty. Jon looked like he was about to kill me as I ambivalently perused the wet vegetables, oblivious to his impatience and growing crankiness. Or Hangriness, a term coined by our friend Phil which implies a hungry and subsequently angry significant other.
Anyways I had an idea of what I wanted to make for dinner but needed my time to figure out what was sparking my cooking inspiration for the night. I finally spotted my food kryptonite – huge bunches of fresh arugula. After that the rest of my idea for dinner followed. We’d have pork chops stuffed with prosciutto and provolone cheese, fresh tomato sauce, and an arugula salad with Macoun apples, sliced fennel and onions. I’d been craving a breaded and fried piece of stuffed meat, and that’s what we were going to have dammit.
By the time we got to Veneiro’s on 11th street for our favorite prosciutto, it was pouring and I was making Jon carry all our bags while I whined about back pain and the rain getting on my new sweater. A far cry from the person from the couch who wanted to prance in the rain, Jon smugly pointed out. By the time we got home, both of us were ready to order Chinese. Exhausting food shopping trips often lead to takeout dinners. But tonight was destined for breaded chops.
To transform our dinner into one bite, we took the ingredients from the salad and folded them into the pork filling. I removed the bone from the pork chop and butterflied it lengthwise. Using a plastic sandwich bag and an empty milk bottle (you could use a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan) I pounded out the meat to make it thin and easy to roll.
I stuffed the pounded, butterflied chops with a few heaping tablespoons of the fennel, apple, arugula and prosciutto filling and rolled it into a log. I breaded it using flour, eggs mixed with Dijon mustard, and Italian style breadcrumbs, just as I did with the pork chops for dinner. Then I pan fried the roulade in olive oil and finished it in the oven. I made the same tomato sauce as the night before and sliced the roll crosswise into ½“ slices. Topped with tomato sauce, the bite really did encapsulate our cozy dinner from the rainy night before.
(Makes 2 stuffed pork chops, or 6 sliced rounds)
2 pork chops, bone in
1 pork chop, bone removed, butterflied and pounded
For the Tomato Sauce:
½ small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, diced
¼ cup red wine, to deglaze
Salt and pepper
1. Sweat onions and garlic in olive oil until softened and lightly browned. Season well with salt and pepper.
2. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Deglaze with red wine and add tomatoes.
3. Cook tomatoes in wine until softened. Add in parsley at the end.
For the Filling:
1/2 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 leek, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ Macoun apple, diced
½ fennel bulb, diced
½ bunch of arugula, chiffonade
¼ lb prosciutto, diced
¼ cup provolone, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. If using the two chops, butterfly on the non-bone side and season inside and out with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. If making the roulade, remove the bone and butterfly lengthwise. Using a meat mallet or other flat tool, pound out the butterflied chop and season.
2. Saute the onion, shallot, leek and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the fennel and apple dice and cook until softened, trying not to add color.
3. Add the arugula and cook briefly until wilted. Off the heat, add prosciutto and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Stuff the chops or butterflied chop with filling. If making the roulade, roll meat around filling and fold ends underneath, creating a tight roll.
½ cup flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
½ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1. Mix flour and garlic powder. Beat eggs together with Dijon, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Combine breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.
2. Set up your breading station in three separate bowls. Starting with flour, coat the pork entirely and shake off excess. Dip into the egg, removing excess, and then into the breadcrumbs.
3. Heat a pan and coat with oil until nearly smoking. Sear off the pork, making sure to get a golden brown color on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Finish in a 400° oven for 4 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes before slicing.
4. To assemble the bite, slice the roulade into ½“ rounds and top with tomato sauce. Serve hot.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle