Prepare the Stuffing:
Cook the wild rice according to package directions.
To toast the pecans, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the pecans and toast for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until nuts are beginning to brown and fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool.
In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apple and onion, and cook for about 4 minutes, until apples just begin to soften. Remove to a bowl and stir in the cooled pecans, cooked wild rice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Stuff and Sear the Pork Chops:
Remove any excess fat from pork chops and pat them dry. Using a sharp knife, create a pocket. Place palm on top of the chop and insert knife about 2 inches into the chop, parallel to work surface. Then, saw knife from insertion towards either end of the chop, making sure to leave one long end of the pork chop intact. It should open like a book when done.
Spoon just under a 1/2 cup of stuffing* into each pocket (more or less depending on chop size) and close securely with toothpicks by threading each toothpick - up, down, up.
Sprinkle both sides of the closed pork chops with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in the same large pan as before over medium-high heat. Once butter is hot, add seasoned pork chops and sear until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. (Don’t crowd the pork chops; do this in stages or in two separate pans if need be).
*Because you will use the remaining stuffing to top the pork chops later, be careful not to have anything (hand/utensil) that has touched the raw pork get into the stuffing.
Bake the Pork Chops:
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Place seared pork chops in the bottom of the dish; cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
While the pork chops bake, heat balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, and thyme in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer rapidly (uncovered) for about 15 minutes, stirring VERY frequently, until glaze has reduced by about half and has thickened. Be careful not to let it boil again (as it simmers), especially not letting it boil over because it will make a huge mess! Remove from burner and set aside.
Glaze the Pork Chops:
After the pork chops have baked for the 30 minutes, remove from oven and discard foil cover. Carefully drain any liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Then spoon about 1/2 of the glaze over the chops (using a spoon to spread over each chop). The glaze should drizzle to the bottom of the pan; give the pan a good shake to distribute it over the bottom of the pan and return to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Flip the pork chops over; spoon an additional (approximately) 1/4 cup glaze over the top of the pork chops, shaking again to distribute glaze over the bottom evenly and bake for 5 additional minutes, keeping a close eye on them so they don’t begin to burn.
Remove toothpicks. Serve pork chops with (reheated) remaining stuffing served on top of each pork chop.
This receipe was developed by Carpe Season.