I had originally had such good plans to grill this pork, but I ended up baking it instead. I’ll admit it, I went out. The heat index was 105 degrees and it was just too much for me. I thought about at least starting them on the grill or finishing them on the grill, but I let that thought fly right back out of my head when I opened the back door and that storm of heat about knocked me! Literally! 105 ?? !!! Ouch. It's just too much for me. But I got a little courage and went ahead and cut it all up into thick chops complete with pockets! I don't know why, but I always think it's just wrong to cut out a pretty big piece of meat. It's really not, but I mean, once you have fried it, you want to slice it into serving pieces anyway, right? That's what I said to myself as well. It was a 4.75 lb. boneless pork roast and I cut it in half and then cut each half into 3 equal pieces. Then I made nice big pockets in each to hold everything full. The original plan had been to not overfill them, toothpick them closed and grill them, but I decided to leave them up and just overfill and use all the filling instead. They came out spectacular! So everything was not lost at all! (Although I still dream of grilling them sometime! Next time! 😉) I cheated on the stuff a bit though. I tried the new Betty Crocker brand of Cornbread Stuffing and it was pretty darn good! When I was planning to add all kinds of goodies, I didn't think a little help in the kitchen was such a terrible thing. Although the box said it had celery and onion, I couldn't imagine it being anything but small unrecognizable little bits, so I went ahead and sautéed some onions and celery in a little butter to good scale. Added the ingredients, the mix required, brought it to a boil with the chopped broccoli, then stirred in crumbs and the rest of my treats, and wa-lah! All in one pan! While the stuffing was set aside for set-up and cooling, I cleared the pork, trimmed the extra fat away first, and made nice big pockets. (I tasted the filling and would fit every bit in there!) The amount was perfect. Exactly. They looked beautiful and professional before even going into the oven!
During baking, 2 of mine fell, so with that in mind, you can support them with small balls of foil on each side of them. I wasn't thinking about doing it, but I had one that had fallen down and it was perfectly fine! Just don't sandwich them in a bowl, leave space around them so the sides can be nicely done. See how happy they look? Even celery is "smiling"!
And that's really all there is to do! I started them as it was covered with foil in the meantime and removed it over the last 15-20 minutes as I dripped them with apricot preserves. The filling had a very light, delicate crunch right on the outside, not hard and too low, and the chops were juicy and oh so tender !! Maybe it was the fate to bake these instead of grilling? We will never know, but this is a non-frightening, jaw-dropping, sociable main course that I would be proud to serve to the guests! So if you decide to grill these, you can do one of two ways. Either use smaller fillers and toothpicks closed tightly, or exaggerate and leave standing and make these in foil packs! "Bake" on the grill in individual foil wrappers that are closed closed at the top, and then * CAUTION with pliers to safely release all steam, open them and drizzle them with the melted apricot canner, leaving just packages open to finish. I think both ways would work just fine. But whatever cooking method you choose, you will really enjoy these! They honestly couldn't be easier, and what a beautiful and colorful presentation! Enjoy and have a wonderful day!
OVER-STUFFED APRICOT-GLAZED PARK CHOPS with CORNBREAD, BROCCOLI, BACON, CHEDDAR & WHITE SHOEPEG CORN STUFFING
1 – 6 oz. box Betty Crocker Homestyle Cornbread Stuffing Mix
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 of a medium sized onion, cubes
1 rib celery, sliced
3/4 – 1 cup fresh broccoli flowers, chopped
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup white shovel grain
3 strips of crispy cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
The rest of the ingredients:
1 (4 1/2 – 5 lb.) boneless pork roast, fried in fat
salt and pepper for seasoning
3-4 Tbl. apricot preserves, jelly or jam, melted
Melt 2 Tbl in medium to large saucepan. butter and saute celery and onions until crispy. Stir chopped broccoli, water and half a stick of butter together, and cook. Stir in the corn and bacon and turn off the heat. Dump in cornbread mixture and top with cheese. Fold all until just mixed, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, transfer to a cool bowl and place in refrigerator for cooling covered with a sheet of paper towel to absorb steam.
While stuffing is cooled, fat is trimmed from pork roast. Cut it half down, then slice each half into 3 slices, also down, and make 6 thick cut chops. (* A smaller roast can be used and cut into 3-4 thick slices if preferred. Just serve any extra filling on the side.)
Cut a nice, deep slot / pocket in each chop and spread it open a bit as you go. Do not cut all the way to the bottom and do not cut all the way to the edges. Season inside and out with a little salt and pepper to taste. Place on foil baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill and overfill chops with filling, pop in 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes to set filling. Count with the sprayed foil (underside so it doesn't stick to filling) and continue baking for another 30 minutes. Remove foil, drizzle with melted apricot canned, melted in a small bowl in the microwave and stir to melt, and bake for 15-20 minutes. * Can be served with the rest of the corn if you use a can, and a nice, cool salad.