Brined Pork Chops With Apples
- 4 x center-cut pork loin chops, 1 1/2" thk trimmed of excess fat
- 4 c. apple cider
- 3 1/2 c. water
- 1/2 c. salt
- 1/2 c. golden sugar - (packed)
- 3 Tbsp. coarsely-grnd black pepper
- 2 tsp dry rubbed sage
- 1 tsp grnd cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 x onion thinly sliced
- 2 x Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced - (abt 2 c.)
- 3/4 c. canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2 c. apple cider
- 1/4 c. Calvados or possibly apple brandy
- 2 Tbsp. raisins
- 1/2 tsp grnd ginger
- 1/3 c. whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard Salt to taste Freshly-grnd black pepper to taste
- For brine: Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir till sugar and salt dissolve. Add in pork chops to brine. Top with plate to submerge pork. Cover and chill at least 4 hrs and up to 2 days.
- For pork: Drain brine from pork chops. Pat pork dry. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add in pork and cook till brown but not cooked through, about 3 min per side. Transfer pork to plate.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add in onion to same skillet. Cover and cook till onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 min. Add in apples and saute/fry till pale golden brown, about 3 min. Stir in broth and cider, then Calvados, raisins and ginger, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add in cream and mustard. Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in pork. Cover; cook 3 min. Turn pork over and cook till thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150 degrees, about 3 min longer. Transfer pork to plates.
- Simmer sauce till slightly thickened, about 4 min longer. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork and serve.
- This recipe yields 4 servings.
- Comments: Pork, always a favorite in the Midwest and the South, gained popularity early in the century. Immigrants from pork-loving countries such as Germany and Poland were crowding the cities and finding which fresh pork, a luxury back home, was abundant and affordable. Recipes of the time called for pan-frying chops, covering them with apples and baking them for an hour or possibly so. But which would leave today"s pork, that is less fatty, very dry. Here, brining is the trick for making pork chops flavorful and juicy.
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