Tuscan Pork

This is a great meal for a cool, early autumn evening, the apple cider and the cornbread and the prosciutto enhanced by the fennel seed.

For 4

Ingredients

2 # Boneless Pork Chops
3 T Fennel Seeds (crushed in a mortar and pestle)
½ T Fresh Thyme (diced)
¼ # Prosciutto (loosely chopped)
1 Yellow Onion (loosely diced)
2 T Butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 Cups Corn Bread
1½ Cups Chicken Stock
¼ Cup Sweet Vermouth
2 Cups Apple Cider (or Apple Juice - Cider's better though)
Salt
Black Pepper

Directions

Sauté the prosciutto, fennel seeds, and ½ the onion with 2 T olive oil and 2 T butter over medium heat until the onions are translucent - approximately 10 minutes. Grumble up the corn bread with your fingers, and mix with the onion mixture in a bowl. Set aside. Reserve the pan (don't clean it - you want to use the flavors left in the pan for when you cook your pork).

Take the pork chops and cut envelopes into them by inserting a small, sharp knife into the side of it and carefully working it one way, remove the knife, and back in with the blade facing the other way, and working it that way. You should now have a hole on the side big enough to put your finger in, and effectively a pocket inside the pork chop. Fill the envelopes with the stuffing you've made. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pork chops.

Put 2 T butter into the sauté pan you cooked the onions in and set on medium high heat. Braise the pork chops on both sides, making sure to sear the sides as well. Remove from pan. Put the chicken stock, the other ½ of the onion, the cider, and some salt and pepper into the pan and bring to a simmer, reducing the heat to medium. Put the pork back into the pan, as well as any runoff juices, return to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook for approximately 40 minutes.

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