Crab Stuffed Pork Loin Chops With Red Wine & Shallot Reduction Sauce

This is a long one but features a happy ending. No, really!

I was sitting around one night and wondering what kind of fancy-schmancy recipe I could crank out using a quick scavenger hunt through my depleted kitchen. I had some boneless pork chops, big ol’ thick and meaty ones, and wondered what to do with them. I’d always wanted to stuff a pork chop but never seemed to get around to it.
I’m also a lover of the lowbrow and much maligned canned crab so I decided to go with it.
Hmm, what else could I stuff in there? I had a quarter pound of monster crimini mushrooms, some onions, a lonely egg, and a nearly empty bag of panko bread crumbs languishing atop the fridge.
I also had a half bottle of Cabernet (from my burner friend Felony Arson) hiding in the back of the fridge which I thought would make a yummy red wine reduction to slop on top of the chop.

If you are going to make the reduction sauce, be sure to prep the ingredients when prepping the chop ingredients or at least before you put the meat in the oven.

Butterflying (I’ll be damned if that word don’t look totally wrong and it just plain stumped the spellchecker) a pork chop is a shiny way of saying “I almost cut it in half but got distracted at the last moment”.
Drop your chop on the cutting board, plump it up by slapping the sides inwards but not so much as to overdo it. Yeah, crystal clear, huh? Then, using a really sharp knife, start sawing at it in a horizontal direction bisecting it at the equatorial center. Heh. Keep going until you get to the last 1/4 inch and quit. I like a chop that has a strip of fat on one edge. Use this as the back or spine of your lepidopterous meaty treat. Now open up the chop like a book. Kinda looks like a butterfly but porkier, huh? Feel free to add color spots with food dye or whatever. I don’t but probably should.
Flip it over so the spine faces upward and pat it down pretty flat. Cover it with a piece of plastic wrap that’s about twice as big as the meat. Get out a meat mallet (or a rubber body & fender mallet or even a chunk of 2×4 lumber) and beat the shit out the chop until each meat flap is about half its starting thickness. Beat it from the center of each flap and work outwards.

Crab Stuffed Pork Chops

2 pork loin pork chops, 1 inch thick and butterflied
1 6 oz can crab meat – well drained
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs (panko RAWKS!)
1 TBSP fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 half of a medium onion – finely minced
5 minced mushrooms

Butterfly the chops, cover with plastic wrap and pound out to half the original thickness.

Combine crab, bread crumbs, egg, fish or soy sauce, sesame oil and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

Saute onion and mushrooms with just enough butter to lightly coat. Add a small amount to begin and add more sparingly. Saute until the mushrooms are somewhat soft.

Add the mushroom mixture to the crab mixture and stir it up. You might need to drain a bit of juice from it. I dumped mine into a fine colander lined with two paper towels and pressed it over the sink.

Open the chops and mound up some stuffing on one side.

Fold them up all tacolike and put on a greased greased baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When ready, cook for 45 – 50 minutes.

Here’s the sauce for the top. It’s optional and sort of, but not totally, a pain in the ass to make but is soooo worth it.

Red wine & Shallot Reduction Sauce

1/4 LB Shallots sliced shallots (4 – 5 average size shallots) 3 TBSP Olive or peanut oil
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/2 – 1 tsp Rosemary
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Black pepper
5 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Cups Red wine
2 Cups Beef stock or chicken stock – bullion granules work great 1 TBSP Salted butter

Wine. NEVER use cooking wine. Cooking wine is made of evil. It is not your friend. Do not turn your back on it. Ever.
The secret to cooking with wine is to only use what you would drink. If you wouldn’t put it in your winehole, why would you put it in your foodhole?

Saute the shallots in a medium saucepan in the oil on high for about 3 minutes until very lightly browned, keep it moving so you don’t burn them. If you don’t keep them constantly moving then they’ll end up deep-fried. You want them to remain quite wiggly and squiggly. Add the black pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Keep cooking another 2 – 3 minutes and stir continuously.

Add the vinegar and keep stirring until you’re left with a syrup.
CAUTION! Do not hold your face over the saucepan or sniff it while reducing the vinegar. You have a mighty potent homemade crowd control agent stewing in there!

Add the wine and reduce by two thirds. This might take 10 minutes or maybe a bit more.

Add the stock and return to a boil. Reduce this by two-thirds to arrive at around 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups. It will be a thick, chunky sauce and not too runny.
The shallots will make up the bulk of the sauce and have little free liquid left. Add a pinch of salt if needed but the stock should be adequate. Stir in the butter and you’re done!

You can serve this immediately or set aside and reheat when ready to serve. It is also fantastic when cooled to room temperature.

As the picture shows, I sliced up a large crimini mushroom and sauteed it in butter. I laid a few of these slices over the top before spooning sauce over the chop. Don’t be lazy, just do it. I guarantee this will get you laid… See? There’s your happy ending.

Cooking With Foxfur: Hot & Sour Soup

Can you run a knife? Drive a stove? Hang onto a spoon? Yeah? Well then, kitten, you can make a mighty mean pot of hot and sour. In terms of ease it’s the split pea soup of China. Easy prep, easy cook, and you’d have to really apply yourself to screw it up.

Don’t let the hot part scare you off. It’s not hot in the conventional sense. The “hot” comes from white pepper which is identical to black pepper but for one detail. Peppercorns for black pepper are harvested from the tree when nearly ripe and allowed to dry in the sun so that the outer skin, the pericarp, oxidizes and turns black. That’s what gives the black pepper its black. White pepper is made from peppercorns that have been dried and then lovingly rubbed by silky handed virgins to remove the pericarp. White pepper still tastes very similar to the black but seems, to my palate, a bit more refined. Think of it as perfectly pampered pepper. It’s used extensively in Asian cuisine because it won’t feng your shui.

This is a dish that will convince guests and loved ones that you are a closet chef. Of its many pluses, the plussiest plus is that you can make it using ingredients that have a decent shelf life and won’t require a special trip to market right before making it. A block of tofu, a can of bamboo shoots, a can of shiitake mushrooms are the most exotic ingredients required.

Hot & Sour Soup

2 Quarts (8 Cups) chicken broth (I use powdered granules)
1/2 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup white vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon white pepper
1 Pound firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Can bamboo shoots
1 Can shiitake mushrooms (or 4-6 dried, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes) 3 Well beaten eggs
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons cold water

Put the broth on the stove and set it to medium for a slow simmer. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and black pepper.
Dump the tofu in and and stir it up real good.
Cut the mushrooms into thin strips, about 1/8 inch wide, the size of matchsticks and toss ’em in the pot. Cutting the canned variety is like slicing jellyfish, careful!
Slice the bamboo shoots into 3 or 4 matchsticks from each flat slice as they come from the can. Heave ho, into the pot they go.
Increase the heat up to medium-high. Pour the cornstarch water in and stir to distribute. This will thicken the soup almost imperceptibly but your tongue will notice the slight velvety texture. Just see if it doesn’t…
Now crank up the burner to sorta not quite high to get a good almost boil going on.
Stir the pot so you get a good cyclone going and pour the eggs in a stream over 5 to 6 seconds. Stir a bit more to incorporate the eggy goodness.

Serve some up in a bowl and drizzle in a li’l bit of sesame or chili oil if that kinda thing pleases you.

Wanna get all fancylike with it? Throw in some crispy fried pork matchsticks, slivers of bamboo shoots, grated carrot or daikon, gold leaf, etc.

Survey says? You’re a genius!
After eating, I leave the pot on the stove top overnight. The flavors magically mingle and and magnify when you’re not looking. It’s a great breakfast on a cool winter morning.

The perfect accompaniment to hot & sour soup is crab Rangoons, A.K.A. crab puffs. I will publish that recipe soon…