Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops with Cranberry Almond Rice

21-inch pork chops, trimmed
2 tablespoonbutter, divided
2 tablespoonolive oil, divided
8 ouncesfresh spinach, cleaned
1/2 mediumonion, chopped
1 clovegarlic, or to taste
1/2 cupfeta cheese crumbles, or cheese of choice grated
3 tablespoonsbacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/2 cupwhole grain or wild rice blend
1-1/4 cupvegetable broth
1 tablespoonbutter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoonsdried cranberries
2 tablespoonssliced almonds

Instructions

In a small sauce pan, add vegetable broth, rice, butter, and stir to combine. Place over medium high heat. Once the broth comes to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Let simmer until rice is cooked, 30-45 minutes, depending on the rice you use. Note: Check directions on rice packaging for accurate cooking times.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once butter begins to foam, add onions and garlic, and cook 4 to 5 minutes until onions soften. Add spinach and sauté until spinach wilts and releases its water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the water cooks off. Add bacon and cheese, and stir to combine. Set aside and allow to cool while prepping pork chops.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut a deep pocket into the trimmed pork chops. Note: It may be easier to butterfly the pork chop, but it will make it harder to pan sear once it is stuffed. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Fill pocket with 1/2 of the spinach mixture, or as much as it will hold. If desired, use a toothpick or butcher's twine to hold closed.

Add the cranberries and almonds to rice, and stir to combine.

In oven-safe sauté pan, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Sear pork chops 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place sauté pan in preheated oven 7 to 10 minutes, until pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145 F. Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

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