Cornbread and Pancetta Stuffed Pork Chops

stuffed pork chop.jpg

Pork and apples are such a good combination.  That’s why the apple cider vinegar is such a nice addition to this recipe. It has a great flavor that adds a little tang to the meat.  Also, there is a benefit to the cider vinegar and the stock together. Even though you are cooking the chops until the stuffing is hot, they stay moist and tender. I’d consider this a main dish fit for a special occasion. I will say that if I’m going to go to the trouble of stuffing chops, I usually scale the recipe up and freeze the extra chops.  They are really nice to have on hand for a simple evening meal; pair them with a vegetable or salad and that’s dinner! The chops thaw beautifully overnight in the refrigerator.

Stuffing the chops takes some practice.  I have written the process in detail, but your second chop is probably going to look better than your first one.  The one thing that I can tell you is that you absolutely must use thick chops. They need to be at least one inch thick. Thin chops can come apart easily and are really difficult to cut properly.   I find thick chops occasionally in the packaged section of the grocery store. Your best bet is to talk to the butcher behind the counter.

I should note that I freeze extra cornbread and rustic bread to have on hand for breadcrumbs and stuffing. I do a quick inventory of my refrigerator and freezer when I’m writing weekly menus. Then items don’t get lost in the background and never used.  If I see the cornbread on the shelf, I remember to use it. At the same time, I throw out anything that has expired. This literally takes me 5 minutes; I don’t waste food because of this habit. 

I hope you love the recipe.

Buon Appetito!

Yield: 2

Cornbread and Pancetta Stuffed Porkchops

prep time: 30 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 50 mins


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced fennel bulb
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced mushrooms
  • 3-4 slices pancetta
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cornbread
  • 1 pinch each of dried sage and thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 bone in or boneless pork chops, 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 


  1. Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat.  Add in fennel, onion and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft but do not brown.  Add in the pancetta and sauté until it begins to crisp.  Put the mixture in a medium-sized bowl and add the cornbread and seasonings.  Mix together well.
  1. Cut a pocket in each chop using a paring or filet knife.  Insert the knife horizontally into the flesh side of the chop.  Your blade will be pointing towards the bone if they are bone-in.  If they are boneless, work towards the fat-side of the chop.  Make and internal horizontal cut to the left.  Remove the knife and flip it over.  Insert in the same opening and then make a horizontal cut to the right without enlarging the original cut.  You want to make a pocket.  Use your fingers to open the pocket in the chop and be careful not to cut all the way through the chop.  
  2. Carefully fill each pocket with the stuffing.  
  3. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chops on each side for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the chops and pour off fat.  Put the chops back in the pan and pour in stock and vinegar.  Season chops with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook the chops through, about 15 minutes.



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