Macadamia, Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork chops with Apple Salsa (Organic Gippsland Pork + Long weekend Lunch)

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A long weekend calls for a LONG LUNCH and great times shared with friends and family. I feel now is the moment to mention how much I adore the month of April…public holiday central (yes please!) and a time for mid-semester breaks, Easter bunnies, chocolate, Hot Cross buns,  Anzac Slice and Autumn nights! And how better to enjoy this festive month than to share a wholesome meal with beautiful people!!

This recipe is for all of you out there who are planning a festive meal this weekend…or any weekend for that matter! The thought of spending time stuffing pork chops instead of hoeing into a cheese board probably sounds rather effortful, but I assure you I pumped that step out in record time, first attempt, and it was so 100% worth it ❤  I would put this recipe in my  ‘cook to impress’ pile,  takes a  bit of patience (hence keeping it for a weekend where time is not of the essence), but the flavours are so perfect and combined with a rustic Fennel and Pear salad it makes a lunch affair to remember

Buy me… (Serves 4 marvellous people)

4 Pork T-bone chops, be generous, at room temperature

1 onion, finely diced
1/3 cup sun-dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup natural macadamia nuts, diced (finely and coarsely…mix it up)
sage, about 12 leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp of lemon zest
1/4ish cup of pear schnapps**
salt and pepper to season
2tsp butter
4 1.5inch sticks, I use twigs from my lemon tree, however toothpicks work 🙂

Apple salsa: simply mix all ingredients together, then set aside at room temperature…let the flavours have a chat 😉

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1 granny smith apple, peeled/halved/sliced/diced into small cubes
1 radish, halved/sliced/diced into small cubes
parsley, finely sliced 1/3 cup approx
sage, finely sliced 1 tbs
apple cider vinegar
virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to season

Wine in hand, chopping block at the ready…

1. Start by sauteing the onion in butter on a low heat, let the onion sweat slowly, that way it will be sweet and tender for the stuffing.
2. Add the chopped macadamia, sage, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan and lightly fry, cook until the macadamia release their sexy oils into the air…the smell will be divine!
3. Time to add the diced apricots and schnapps to the hot pan, cook stirring and muddling the ingredients together until the liquid cooks off and your stuffing is sticky…yum yum yum. This step should only take 45-60 seconds…don’t over do it.

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4. Pork time: So this next step will sound like a lot of faffing…but it’s fairly simple. Promise.

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5. The idea is to create a small cavity, starting at the base, in your ‘chop’ between the bone and the strip of fat on the meaty side of the T-bone. Get yourself a small sharp knife, and slice perpendicular to the bone, then pivot the knife slicing into the rump of the meat, make sure to keep the incision small (the same width as the knife) we are trying to make a cavity for our stuffing to fit in 🙂

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6. Use a teaspoon or similar to push the stuffing into the cavity, this isn’t particularly elegant but it needs to be done, may have to get your hands into it…I always find it easier that way.
7. Seal the stuffed pork parcels with a stick from a lemon tree/rosemary spring or use a toothpick.
8. Heat a non-stick pan and lightly brush your chops with oil. Fry on high for 3 min each side to get a lovely crisp skin either side before transferring to an oven tray, and baking for 15 min on 200’C. The idea here is to retain as much moisture in the pork as possible whilst still rendering the fat off. (If you want to accompany this dish with my Fennel Salad, now would be a good time to get the fennel in the oven as well…just saying)
9. Take the pork out of the oven, while the juices are still settling make sure to rest the pork on a wooden block for about 5 min.

Serve alongside a light salad or some creamy polenta…hello domestic goddess. 

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The pork will be well cooked, but still have a flush of color showing that the flavour hasn’t been cooked out of it…I’m a firm believer that a good quality piece of meat does not need to be overdone/overcooked to be ‘safe’, if you buy great meat a little bit of pink before resting is perfectly safe and all the more nourishing. A bit of love is all it needs ❤ .

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