Maple Bacon and Mango Stuffed Pork Chops

...because you can never put too much pork in pork.

This recipe would be better suited with chopped apples, but I didn't have apples.  I did, however, find some deliciously ripe mangoes in the fridge (who has mangoes and not apples?!).  I wondered if they would be too sweet, especially mixed with the maple, so I decided to soak them in a little bit of rice wine vinegar before adding them to the pan.  It definitely mellowed them out, and it was actually a great combination to just eat raw, too.

What You'll Need:
  • 10 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oi, divided
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 mangoes, diced medium
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 6 thick-cut pork chops, boneless 
  • 2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence 

Prepare to bacon: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the bacon down without overlapping.  Brush with maple syrup, liberally, coating all slices well.  Sprinkle evenly with ginger and chili powder.  Bake in a 400-degree oven for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let slices cool on a rack.  They will get crisp and candied while sitting.  Transfer to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, or chop well with a knife.  Set aside.

Prepare stuffing:  Coat the bottom of a saute pan with HALF the olive oil.  Add celery, carrots, and shallots, and cook until soft.  Add salt and pepper.  Add the mangoes after everything has softened so they don't break down too much.  Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add chopped bacon and let cool.  Add breadcrumbs and HALF the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and mix well.

Stuff the 'chops!  Using a paring knife, very carefully cut a gaping hole in the top of the pork chop.  Insert the knife as far down as it will go without going through the bottom.  Using your fingers, stretch the hole (man, this is an uncomfortable step, huh?) until it spans the whole pork chop but doesn't go through anywhere.  Stuff the pork chop with the stuffing, pressing it in tight so it doesn't fall out.  Repeat with all chops.

Cook the 'chops!  Mix the other half of the Parmesan cheese and the herbs de Provence, and dredge your pork chops in it.  Press hard to make a nice coating on the outside of the pork.  Using the other half of the olive oil, coat the bottom of a skillet and heat up.  Sear the pork chops until they are browned all around, about 2 minutes on each side.  Place on a rack over a baking sheet and bake on 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the inside temperature reads 150 degrees.  Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into, and serve with "quarter-cup" mashed potatoes!

"Quarter-Cup" Mashed Potatoes:
  • 5 pound bag yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • Salt and pepper
Cook potatoes in boiling water until fork-tender.  Drain and return to hot pot.  Add remaining ingredients and use a hand-mixer to blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper as desired.  YUM!


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