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Stuffed pork chops made in an Instant Pot (IP) is a dish that is both comforting and elevated. The tender pork chops are moist and juicy. The stuffing, fruits, and vegetables are hearty and flavor-forward with a hint of sweetness. The sauce is savory and tangy. This is the ultimate one-pot meal.
This may be the ultimate weeknight meal for a cool autumn or cold winter evening when you feel like treating yourself. The IP is the perfect appliance for making stuffed pork loin chops.
What Makes This Recipe Interesting?
There is some complexity to the flavor profiles in this dish. However, this is not a complicated dish to make because the Instant Pot is doing much of the work after you do the prep.
The pork is a bit of a blank canvas that will absorb all the flavors of the other ingredients. I use boneless center-cut pork chops that are about 1-inch thick. I also use a packaged stuffing mix and an onion for the savory components. The sweetness comes from raisins, apples, and sweet potatoes.
The acid in the mustard-based sauce compliments the sweetness of the fruits and vegetables. The sauce can be made in a small saucepan over your stovetop while the pork chops are cooking. You could even make it well ahead of time and just reheat it before serving.
Substitutions and Shortcuts
I have already mentioned one of the shortcuts. That would be using a pre-packaged stuffing mix. The idea of using your Instant Pot is to make meal preparation a bit easier and quicker. Making your own croutons for the stuffing does take time. That said, you could definitely season and toast some cubed bread the day before and use that as your stuffing component. I am sure that substitution in the recipe would be delicious.
I happen to love raisins, but some people don’t. If that is the case, you could use dried cranberries in place of the raisins in this recipe. Or, just leave them out. You could also swap out the apple for a firm pear. That actually sounds good.
Would you like more texture? I often add chopped raw walnuts to my stuffing for a little more texture, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The sweet potato can be substituted with a yam or winter squash, such as butternut, kabocha, acorn, or buttercup. These are all starchy and sweet.
If you open your pantry and find that you are out of broth, you can use water or even white wine for the liquid component.
If you would like a slightly less acidic sauce, try whisking in a little maple syrup or honey. You could also add some complexity to the sauce by stirring in a little Worcestershire sauce.
Some Lessons Learned and Tips for Success
The quality of the ingredients does matter. The tastiest pork is that which is free-range or pastured, such a heritage breed. These animals don’t eat a grain-based feed diet. They are forages eating foliage, acorns, fruits, insects, and even a little soil. The flavor is superior to commercially farmed pork. Also, the pigs or hogs have lean muscle mass from exercise. If you can’t find this type of pork, don’t let that discourage you from trying this recipe.
Many people wonder if you can use frozen pork chops for this recipe. I would advise against that for the simple reason that you need to be able to safely slice them for the stuffing pocket. That is not an easy task with frozen meat. Just pull them out of the freezer the night before and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator.
And, remember to pat the chops dry before stuffing them. In fact, I give my pork chops a quick rinse under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
As mentioned previously, you don’t have to use broth. However, you do need some liquid for your Instant Pot to come up to pressure. The broth adds some richness to the dish. Some of that is due to the collagen in the broth. Water is a little thinner and flavorless, so you might be able to get away with using less liquid if using water. I haven’t tried that.
I highly recommend searing the pork chops first, which you can do right in the Instant Pot. Just press the sauté button and sear in a little butter or olive oil. Don’t skip this step as it forms a lovely crust that is believed to seal in the juices. Also, the little brown bits taste good.
Cooking of the chops is a 3-step process. First, you will need to sear the chops, as described above. Next, pressure cook them for 10 minutes. Finally, allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes.
Now let’s get to the recipe for this delicious one-pot meal with tender pork chops.
- Pressure Cooker like an Instant Pot
- 4 boneless pork loin chops 1 inch thick each
- 2 tsps sea salt
- 2 tsps freshly ground pepper
- 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 box of stuffing mix + water and butter
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 firm apples gala or honey crisp
- 1 medium sweet onion Vidalia
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 TBS lemon zest
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 4 tsps Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 TBS butter
- On the stovetop or in a microwave, prepare the stuffing according to the box directions. Stir the raisins into the stuffing mix. Set this aside to cool.
- Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Slice the pork chops horizontally through the center to make a pocket for stuffing. Generously season the pork, inside and out with salt and pepper. Push the sear or sauté button on the Instant Pot. Sear the chops until just brown on both sides but not cooked through.
- While the pork is searing, prepare the fruits and vegetables: Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick rings. Peel the onion and slice it into 1/4 inch thick rings. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Mince the garlic.
- Remove the seared chops from the Instant Pot to a plate or cutting board. Deglaze the pot with the wine being sure to scrape up any browned bit. These are tasty, so mix them well into the wine while it is reducing. Once reduced, turn off the Instant Pot.
- Fill the pork chops with the stuffing mixture. Arrange a layer of half of the apples, onions, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Place the stuffed pork chops on top of the layer. Add the remaining fruits and vegetables on top of the chops. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top. Add in the chicken broth.
- Place the lid on the pot to seal it with the pressure valve. Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure. Then, allow the sealed pot to return to natural pressure for an additional 10 minutes. Before opening the pot, release any additional pressure.
- While the pork chops are cooking, make your sauce. In a medium saucepot over medium-high heat, whisk together the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, and thyme. Bring this to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer until just thickened, approximately 7 minutes. Whisk in the butter and cover to keep warm.
- Once the pressure is fully released from the Instant Pot, check the pork chops with a digital meat thermometer. You are looking for an internal temperature of between 155 and 160°F.
- Serve the pork with the fruits and vegetables on individual plates. Spoon the warm sauce over the top of everything on the plate. Enjoy.