All work and no cooking makes Heather a boring girl!!!

Wow, my posts are getting few and far between these days. I guess life has changed quite a bit for me in that I just don’t have time for the little things I enjoy so much, like posting to my blog. After tonight’s dinner, I figured it was definitely worthy of some time at the keyboard. The dinner plan was roast chicken, but after digging through the cavernous ice chest, it was obvious that chicken was not going to be on the menu. I did happen upon 6 giant pork chops….so chops it was. Then it was on to “what to do with them”. I had just gone to Costco yesterday and came across a big bag of Quinoa (pron. KEEN wah) and figured I’d do some sort of quinoa stuffing. Below is the end result! It is definitely worth it! Make sure you use thick cut chops, I usually get them at Costco. ENJOY!!!

Pork Chops with Quinoa Stuffing with Bacon and Nuts

Stuffing
½ lb. bacon
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 recipe basic quinoa, about 2 cups (see QUINOA)
½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
½ cup white wine (preferred), chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or about ¾ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary or winter savory
salt and freshly ground black pepper

QUINOA
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in several changes of water
2 cups water, plus ¼ cup if needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Quinoa:

Combine the quinoa, water, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

If all the water has been absorbed but the quinoa is not tender, add ¼ cup water and continue to cook until tender. If any water remains, remove the lid and raise the heat a bit. Cook, stirring, until the water evaporates.

For Stuffing:

If using slab bacon, cut it into ½-inch cubes. Cook the bacon cubes or strips in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring or turning, until crisp but not burned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet.

Still over medium heat, add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes; add the garlic, quinoa, nuts, liquid, thyme, and bacon (crumble if using strips).

Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Season to taste with salt – you may not need any – and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Chops
6 thick cut pork chops, butterflied

Preheat oven to 350. Place a 13×9 glass baking dish in the oven to warm while browning the pork chops.

In a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over moderately high heat until the foam subsides and in the fat, brown the pork chops for 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to the hot baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Plate and serve!

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