Stuffed baked pork chops with figs and walnuts

BY BILL ST. JOHN
We don’t realize how much salt we eat in everyday foods. Bread and rolls, for example, are America’s saltiest foods, twice saltier than potato chips says the Center for Disease Control. (Likewise, we eat a lot of sugar we don’t even think about.) This isn’t a “hunk of pork” dish; it’s meat with sweet. Check out those figs, even the cooked onion. Always pair sweet foods with wines that are either as sweet by the same measure, or that give the impression of sweetness, as do rich, fruity reds. A bit of tannin helps here, too, as a foil for fat.

You’ll need:

4 thick pork chops
9 ounces figs
1 small onion, quartered
1 clove garlic
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons fig jam
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

Makes 4 servings
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make a horizontal cut about halfway through the chops to form a pocket, but do not cut through the chops. Combine figs, onion, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until just coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in bread, walnuts, fig jam, thyme, and salt and pepper. Stuff the chops with the mixture; place chops in a baking dish. Bake until pork is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.


And the wines!

2017 Red Quartz Pinot Noir
Smoky aromas and flavors of grilled mushrooms, cherrywood barbecue, and lingonberry with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body. A spicy, very food-friendly pinot noir with loads of character. The perfect red for spring!

2017 Monte del Fra Bardolino
A well-balanced, fresh and easy-drinking style dry red wine. Delicately fruity and fragrant, with notes of cherries, strawberries, raspberries and red currants as well as hints of spices. Dry and well rounded. Try this with everything. 

L. Tramier Rocarel Red
A simple and delicious easy drinking table wine for literally all occasions. Light and fruity with a slightly herbal hint and a great finish. Super affordable wine from Bourgogne!