Stuffed Pork Chops with Cranberry-Cabernet Sauce

Ample Bites visited the McFarland Cranberry Farm in Manitowish Waters during a visit to the Northwoods of Wisconsin and came away with the idea of making a reduced Cranberry-Cabernet Sauce to serve with grilled Chorizo Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops.

The visit to the cranberry farm occurred during their fall harvest. The process of harvesting Wisconsin’s state fruit is quite interesting to see. The cranberry plants grow in depressions in the ground that are about 3 to 4 feet deep and several football fields long.

Flooded Cranberry Bog

During the harvest the depressions are flooded with water and the berries are knocked loose from their vines by a paddle machine. The berries float to the top of the water and are corralled to one end of the plot using floating plastic tubes.

Cranberries Ready for Harvest

The berries are then pumped from the bog to a waiting tractor trailer truck for transport.

The Pump and Truck are Ready

Here Come the Cranberries!

The cranberries make an amazing sauce for pork, chicken or duck.

Chorizo Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 8

8 bone-in pork chops about 1 to 1 1/2 thick
1 pound uncased chorizo sausage
3 medium red peppers, seeded and coarsely diced
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely diced
6 Tbsp Asiago cheese, finely grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 seasoned bread crumbs
In a large heavy skillet, combine the sausage, peppers, onions and garlic. Cook the stuffing over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Fold in the cheese and breadcrumbs and allow the stuffing to cool.

Slice a pocket in each of the pork chops. Season the pocket with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fill each pork chop with an eighth of the stuffing and secure the pocket with a skewer. Brush the outside of the chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill the pork chops over direct heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the chops over and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chops from the grill and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Cranberry-Cabernet Sauce
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Makes about 1 cup of sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 large stalks of celery, roughly chopped
4 large carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 large red onion, roughly diced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, boil the cranberries in water with the sugar and brown sugar until the berries burst, about 15 minutes. Drain the berries and allow them to cool. Reserve the cranberry juice.

In a large skillet, simmer the celery, carrots and red onion in the oil until soft, about 15 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the berries and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Add about 1 cup of the cranberry juice and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken.

Strain the berries and vegetables from the sauce using a fine mesh strainer. Return the sauce to the skillet and add the wine. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce and simmer the sauce until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Finish the sauce by whisking in the butter before serving.

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