Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Mushroom-Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed Pork Chops

It’s been a while since I made something new, and when a friend posted a new recipe on Facebook I decided to take the basic idea and change it up a bit. The original recipe uses bacon, apples and nuts for the stuffing – not being a big fan of the apples and nuts I changed them to chopped mushrooms and shallots.

It was a bit weird to me that the recipe is for the slow cooker yet doesn’t use any liquid. It seems after doing some research though that it’s not really that unusual, even though it happens to be the first thing I’ve made this way. What ends up happening is that moisture is released from the food while cooking and trapped by the lid, so it makes its own liquid.

Incidentally the preparation time for this is no joke. It took me two hours to chop, slice, measure and pre-cook everything! So plan ahead accordingly.


4 boneless pork chops, at least an inch thick
90g white mushrooms, chopped
170g crimini mushrooms, chopped
6 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, diced
1 large onion, cut into rings
1 tsp smoked paprika for the stuffing mixture (optional)

First the mushrooms: clean them, slice thinly then chop into approximately 1cm pieces. I had to saute them in three batches (you don’t want to overcrowd the pan when frying mushrooms as they’ll release too much water). It was at this point I realized I was adding three types of mushrooms – white, crimini and er, burnt crimini. They cook pretty fast when cut up this small! I fried my first batch for around 6 minutes; that was too long, and so I went down to 2-3 minutes for the other batches, using a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to a mixing bowl when they’re done.

Cut up the bacon; I trim off and discard a lot of the fat at this point. Drop it into your hot pan and fry until it’s almost done. Add the shallots, saute for another minute or so then add the garlic. I like to fry garlic for just 20 seconds or so, just long enough for it to release that amazing smell. Used a slotted spoon to drop the contents of the pan into your mixing bowl, leaving as much bacon fat in the pan as you can manage. Take the pan off the heat and drop in the onion rings to coat them with the bacon fat, then add half of them to the bottom of the slow cooker to act as a bed for the pork.

Chops - Cut

The chops, showing where to make the cut for the filling.

Speaking of the pork, you can get it ready now. Give the chops a rinse, pat them dry and cut a pocket into them in the side opposite the fat (the picture above should make it more obvious what I mean). Don’t cut all the way through. Mix up your stuffing, optionally adding the smoked paprika as you do so, and fill each porky pocket as full as you like. Use some wooden toothpicks to keep the chops together, then put them upright in the slow cooker. Cook them for 8 hours on low, or 2 hours high/4 hours low if you have less time. Now, while you’re waiting, clean up the kitchen!

Chops - Filled

The stuffed chops, closed with toothpicks, waiting to go into the slow cooker.

I was pleased how things turned out. During cooking the kitchen smells incredible! The onions caramelize and everything goes a wonderful dark colour. We had the chops with mashed potato and some broccolini, and spooned some of the extra filling and liquid from the pot over the top. Louise LOVED them; I liked them a lot, but thought the pork was just a little bit dry. I was happy though that the filling, my own recipe, came out best and was my favourite part of the dish :)

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Blackened Halibut

I wanted to make something new last night, and as we’re still complete neophytes in the kitchen I wanted it to be something simple. I’ve been browsing a few cooking blogs lately, and found the excellent House of Annie. I found a really easy way to pan-fry halibut on there, but they used a store-bought seasoning that we don’t seem to have easy access to in Canada. So a bit of random Googling got me a recipe which I adapted a bit and here’s what we ended up with!

Blackening spice:

3 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp cayenne (the original recipe said 1/4 tsp… lightweights!)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp rough-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Just mix all that up in a small bowl. Next, put 2 tbsp of oil into a non-stick frying pan and put it on a highish heat (we used 8 on our burner’s 1-10 scale). Then get your fish out of the fridge, cut them to whatever sizes you want, and put PLENTY of the spice all over them. I sprinkled it on and patted it in, though as I’m dumb and a total noob I forgot to do the sides of the fillet as well as the top and bottom – cover the fish completely.

The fish with the spice applied, right before cooking.

The fish with the spice applied, right before cooking.

Then after 10 minutes or so when the oil’s nice and hot, drop the fish in, reduce the heat to 7.5, and let them just sit and sizzle for 5 minutes or so. Then jerk the pan to make sure they’re not stuck, and flip with a plastic spatula. Cook for another 5 minutes, and take them out. And that’s it!

After flipping once.

After flipping once.

I LOVE ordering blackened stuff in restaurants and I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, just how close it would be in flavour. Well, it’s IDENTICAL to my favourite stuff (here in Vancouver, Earl’s do a great blackened chicken) and in fact a bit better as we obviously use more cayenne for heat! We served it with rice, asparagus and spinach, all steamed by my wife in a vegetable steamer we bought a couple years ago, and it was incredible. This cooking lark is great; I’m amazed and also annoyed that we didn’t make more of an effort to do this years ago.

All done!

All done!

The rough cost of the meal:
Halibut fillet, I think about 250g: $11.50
Spices: Let’s say $1 for the whole amount I used
Rice: MAYBE another $1, probably not but let’s keep the numbers easy
Asparagus: $2
Spinach: $1
Lemon: 50c

Total: $17.00 for two people – plus some white wine and beer :)