(Recipe originally from Garlic Garlic Garlic by Linda and Fred Griffith)

Ok, I must say oh-my-god when it comes to these pork chops, as they are by far the best pork chops I have ever had in my entire life. Pork chops have a tendency to be a little dry, but this recipe guarantees that they will most definitely NOT be dry. The flavor is nice and strong, with everything blending very nicely. My first bite into one of these after making them the first time was downright incredible, as I found it hard to believe something so tasty could have come from me.

This would be a great dish to serve for company if you want to impress the hell out of them with great cooking. Or just make it for yourself to pamper yourself with good food - but scale down the recipe. Any leftovers just aren't nearly as good the second time around.

Ingredients:

4 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick center-cut loin pork chops
2 thick strips smoked bacon (optional)
1 shallot, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp mixed fresh herbs - rosemary, thyme, basil, savory
OR
2 Tsp dried herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 C fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 C unbleached flour
2 Tbsp olive oil (or more if not using bacon)
1 1/2 C dry red wine
1 bay leaf
Salt and (freshly ground) pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Then, cut a pocket into the side of each of the pork chops - this is why they have to be thick. If, by some chance, you could not get a hold of thick chops, or can't seem to cut a pocket into it, you can debone the chops, and then pound them really thin.

Cut the bacon into thin matchstick-sized strips. In a large cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet with a lid, saute the bacon until it's soft and browned - but not crispy. (If you aren't using bacon, just heat up enough olive oil for saute purposes. And if you don't have an oven-safe skillet, just be prepared to transfer things to something you can put in the oven and cover, with aluminum foil if nothing else)

Add the shallots and garlic, and saute until they're softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the herbs and butter, and after the butter has melted, remove the skillet from heat.

Add the salt, pepper, and bread crumbs, stirring together. If the mixture is still somewhat dry (especially if you omitted the bacon), add olive oil until it is all moistened and coming together.

Take this mixture, and stuff equal amounts into the pockets cut in the pork chops - or, if you have thin, pounded ones, roll them up with some stuffing in the middle, and use toothpicks or fat netting to hold them together rolled up. Rinse the skillet clean.

Pour the flour into a soup or other shallow bowl, and carefully dip the chops in the flour on both sides, making sure they're lightly coated. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put the olive oil into the skillet, and return to medium-high heat. Then add the pork chops, and brown them, both sides, which should be about 2 to 3 minutes. After browned, add in the red wine and bay leaf. Heat until the liquid is bubbling, and then cover and put into the oven.

Cook for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour - until the meat is nice and tender.

When finished in the oven, remove the pork chops from the liquid, and put the skilled on high heat to reduce the liquid. Remove the bay leaf from the liquid, and pour on top of the pork chops. Enjoy.

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