Let me start off by saying that I got a little behind and began dinner a little late. I was rushed and trying to do about 5,783 other things (I’m a great multi-tasker), so when you plan on making a brand new recipe, give yourself the proper time to accomplish the task! It will come out better and you will enjoy the experience more :) The full recipe can be found here.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced. Note: I didn’t have any so I used garlic powder instead. Not ideal, but you gotta use what you got girl!
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced.
- 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning.
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning.
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese. Note: Out yonder (aka where I live), goat cheese is not readily available so I substituted Feta cheese and it was fantastic.
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese.
- 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops.
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Note: I always make my own using bouillon cubes because it’s cheaper.
- 1/2 lemon, zested. Note: Omitted
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
The way Giada lists the ‘to-do’s’ in her recipe were out of order for me. I would start out by first cutting the pocket into the pork. After completing this, I would put the sauce together, even though it’s not used until later. I’m a Type A person and like to have everything mixed, set out, chopped up, etc before actually beginning the recipe, but that’s just me :) So now that you’ve done all that, back to Giada’s way.
My cream cheese wasn’t all that great; it was the rectangular kind and not all that susceptible to smushing, which presented a problem for me.
Buy the soft kind or try a blender or food processor? I just review ’em, I can’t always fix ’em :) After some laborious stirring, I got it to the consistency I remember seeing on the episode.
Frozen spinach is just disgusting. I’m not even gonna lie. Squeezing the water out of it was not fun, but what Giada said, I tried to do! P.S. I think the spinach smells bad too, yuck. I want so badly to like frozen and cooked spinach, but so far, not good. Cooking the cream cheese/goat (or Feta) mixture went just fine. Smells kind of scary but press on.
I was a little apprehensive about cutting a pocket into the pork chops and I’ve always avoided recipes that involved such a task. Why? Who knows, but it went great! I bought a two-pack instead of four because the two-pack chops looked thicker and more suited to having a pocket cut into them. Don’t cut too deep and slice your hand open. I’m very accident prone and you might be too–cut slowly.
No surprises with the pocket stuffing, pretty straightforward. Giada and other recipes always say to cook meats like this four minutes per side. Does this ever get a meat done for anyone? Am I missing something!? It’s more like 10 minutes per side for me, if not more, and I’m a medium doneness kinda girl! The cooking from here on out went downhill for me :(
Making a reduction. Pretty sure I’ve never succeeded. I tried though, I did! I let it simmer for the recommended eight minutes and it was still very liquid-y. So I thought, what the hay, my chops aren’t done either, lets cook it all together shall we? OH! I also squirted some regular mustard into the ‘sauce’ for some reason, um, so that’s completely up to you. Not a ton, but a few squirts. Ok, back to the mess in the pan. Sauce and chops cooking together. Waiting for it to reduce. Daughter is standing on her knees on a chair ‘washing’ dishes in the sink. Next thing I know she’s tumbling off the chair–she’s totally fine, no worries. There were tears shed and a mess to be cleaned, sorry porkchops (a measuring cup full of water tumbled with her and I’m a sucker for a mess). Crisis solved, back to the stove I go, and lo and behold! My sauce has reduced…to a dried, burnt on hot mess. I was a little sad about not having a sauce, but the chops kept cooking and finally finished.
So how was it?! DELCIOUS. I find it hard to make really flavorful pork for some reason. This was just insanely good. It didn’t look good, but it was flavorful and tangy from the feta and cream cheeses, moist. I gave daughter a few bites of pork and spinach mixture, looked up a few minutes later and it was gone! She didn’t like the spinach/cheese mixture alone, but with the pork she ate it up. I liked it all; seperate, together, whatever. Great. Now, husband abhors frozen spinach. In fact, the first thing he said when he finally saw it was, “Uh, you put spinach in it? I hate cooked spinach.” But he was in class and wouldn’t get some until later, re-heated…his verdict?
Husband rating: 8.5! He loved it :)
Would I make this for someone: Possibly. I’d want to make it again with the sauce, with plenty of time to make it. It also wasn’t that pretty? I mean, you can judge for yourself. I’d consider making this if I ever had a couple over for dinner, but no, I wouldn’t send this out to someone. Not really a traveling kind of meal.