Cheesy Pork Pairings

Pork chops are frequently seasoned with traditional spices such as sage and thyme and served with conventional, down-home side dishes including mashed potatoes and green vegetables. Although cheese is not usually associated with pork chops, several types complement their taste and texture when used in coatings, fillings and sauces.

Breaded Chops

Adding finely grated hard cheese to pork chop breading adds flavor and crispness to the meat. Blot the surface of the chops dry with a paper towel. Dip each chop in beaten egg and dredge in breadcrumbs mixed with grated Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese, salt and pepper. For a thin, crisp coating, use dry breadcrumbs, either plain or seasoned with Italian herbs. If you prefer a thicker, bread-like coating, mix the cheese with lighter, coarser breadcrumbs such as Japanese-style panko. Breaded chops can be browned in a skillet on top of the stove and finished off in the oven or cooked until crispy in the stovetop skillet.

Cheese-stuffed Chops

Thick, center cut pork chops are good candidates for stuffing. Using your sharpest, non-serrated paring knife, cut a pocket in the chop lengthwise, being careful not to cut through the opposite side. Mix fresh, chopped baby spinach leaves with shredded yellow or white cheddar and season with salt and pepper. Pack the stuffing into the pocket in the chop and secure the edge with a toothpick. Bake, boil or panfry the chop to desired doneness. For a spicier chop, use pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar.

Grilled or Broiled Pork Chops

For lower fat pork chops, forego the breading or stuffing and cook them under a broiler element or on a stovetop or outdoor grill. Lightly oil the chop surfaces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until almost done, turning once. Remove from heat and top with a smear of mustard and a sprinkling of mixed onion. Combine finely shredded Colby or aged cheddar with fresh thyme leaves and pat on top of each chop. Grill or broil the chops until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Sauced Chops

You can dress up simple pork chops with an elegant blue cheese sauce. Brush the chops with Dijon mustard and season them with salt, pepper and a bit of dried thyme leaves. Bake or broil until done. While the chops are cooking, make a basic white sauce with butter, flour, heavy cream and chicken broth. When the sauce starts to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in crumbled blue cheese until melted and smooth. Pour over the chops and serve. For maximum richness and smoothness, use a creamy blue cheese such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort.

Epicurious: Pork with Gorgonzola Sauce [] BBC Good Food: Cheese and Onion Pork Chops [] KQED; Dinner Party Special; Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on Grape Tomatoes; Jacques Pepin []

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