Recipe: Chef Michael Olson’s Pumpernickel Stuffed Pork Chops with Pear Gingerbread Sauce
Chef Michael Olson shared this recipe for Pumpernickel Stuffed Pork Chops with Pear Gingerbread Sauce at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s 2018 Christmas in November; the golden brown chops are filled with a dark ruby jewel of a pumpernickel stuffing and the gravy is rich with splendid pear and ginger snap aromas. It smells like Christmas and this recipe is sure to impress. The efforts are well worth the result.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
What you’ll need…
1 medium onion, sliced
1⁄2 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
(500 mL) 2 cups roughly diced day-old pumpernickel bread
(125 mL) 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
(250 mL) 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, divided
(5 mL) 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
(5 mL) 1 tsp grainy mustard
(2 mL) 1⁄2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
(1 mL) 1⁄4 tsp ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
(250g) 4 x 8 oz bone-in center cut loin chops
(15 mL) 1 Tbsp butter
(15 mL) 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Bartlett pear, unpeeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
(250 mL) 1 cup Alberta Chicken stock
(125 mL) 1⁄2 cup gingersnap crumbs
For the stuffing, pulse 1⁄4 of the sliced onion (about 1⁄2 cup/125 mL) with the celery in a food processor.
Add the pumpernickel and cranberries and pulse until everything is quite finely chopped.
Transfer this to a bowl and stir in 1⁄4 cup of the white wine along with the thyme, mustard, and 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) of salt & 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) of pepper.
Really stir this well to break it down and soften it, almost to a paste consistency. Spoon this into a large disposable piping bag (no tip needed).
To prepare the chops, use a paring knife and insert the tip into the base of the chop, close to the bottom of the rib bone.
Wiggle the knife from one side of the chop to the other, in an arc, to create a pocket for the stuffing – try not to cut through the chop.
Insert the tip of the piping bag into the small gap where the knife went in and push as much stuffing as you can (the chop will swell).
Repeat this with the remaining chops until all of the stuffing has been used. Chill until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and oil.
Once the butter foams and then subsides, drop in the chops, seasoning lightly on each side when in the pan, and flipping over once browned, about 4 minutes.
Remove the chops from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
Add the remaining 3⁄4 of the sliced onion and the pear and toss to coat in the butter.
Arrange the chops on top of the onion-pear mixture and place in the oven, uncovered, to roast for about 30 minutes, until an internal temperature of 150F is reached.
Remove the pan from the oven to the stove and remove the chops from the pan to a cutting board to rest.
Have the pan on medium heat (take care – the handles will be hot) and add the remaining 1⁄4 cup of white wine, stirring with a wooden spoon until the liquid reaches a simmer, gently pulling any onion or pear stuck to the bottom.
Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the gingersnap crumbs and stir until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy – this only takes a minute.
Season to taste and serve the chops over the sauce. Enjoy!