Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pork Chops with Cornbread Stuffing from a Camp Dutch Oven

This meal was inspired by my recent purchase of Johnny Nix's "Cookin' Outdoors All Time Favorite Recipes" from http://www.yalleatyet.com/ . Johnny provides a version of this recipe in his book using a stuffing mix. I like to make my own cornbread stuffing so I went in that direction.

I'm goofy about stuffed pork chops but they have to be done the right way. Unless you are talking about a pork butt or ribs or some other well marbled piece of piggy brining the pork is mandatory.
Cooking in a covered Dutch or Camp oven is a method that requires no peeking. Brining gives you extra insurance against overcooking the pork. (Have you ever had a pork chop that squeaked as you chewed it? Not good..)
After brining for 30 minutes, rinse, pat dry and slice a pocket in each chop. Stuff but don't go crazy and turn them into baseballs. You want some contact with the bottom of the Camp Oven for browning. Season and set aside while you get the charcoals ready.
Brown the pork chops in olive oil (I added a slice of Neuske's bacon). Barely visible in this pic is the Lodge Lid Stand. This lifts the oven a little higher than the legs and lets you put extra coals underneath for better browning.

Once one side is browned flip the chops and cover with the lid. I used a #12 shallow Camp Oven with 8 coals underneath and 15 on top. I let the chops bake for 25 minutes.
These were quite good. Cooking outdoors in a Camp Dutch Oven is a lot easier than you'd think (if you haven't tried it yet) and it gives you an alternative to grilling and barbecuing when the weather is too hot to cook inside.

The Lewis and Clark expedition lugged their Camp Ovens from St. Louis to the coast of Oregon and then all the way back home. Along their trip they parted with a lot of gear to trade or lighten their load but the Camp Ovens were deemed too valuable to part with.

Get one and you'll probably agree.




Stuffing - Make ahead of time
For the stuffing I used this cornbread recipe and after eating a chunk I crumbled the cornbread onto a sheetpan and dried it in a 250 degree oven.
After sauteing some onions, carrots, celery and dried cherries the cornbread crumbs were added to the skillet along with chicken stock, salt and pepper and butter on top. The skillet went into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I like a moist stuffing for pork. Adjust liquid amounts to suit your preference.