Brined pork chops with apples and onion

An easy way to achieve moist, tender chops!

I love the taste of pork and serve it often. I usually cook it in some kind of sauce because I find it can sometimes get a little dried out if I am not paying attention to it every second. I recently decided to try brining the meat before cooking and I have to say, the results are very impressive and well worth the little extra time this method takes. I served the pork chops with roasted acorn squash and it was a perfect combination.

Ingredients

For the brined chops:

  • 4 cups (1L) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) coarse kosher salt
  • 1 large clove garlic sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) piece of peeled ginger root, sliced in 4
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) each mustard seeds and black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • Two 3 inch (7.5 cm) sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) aromatic white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 2 thick pork rib or loin chops

For the finished dish:

  • 1 large apple, cored and cut in 1/4 inch (.6 cm) slices
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more, to garnish
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) apple cider vinegar

Method

  • Heat water, salt, garlic, ginger, mustard and peppercorns in a small pot, stirring often, until mixture is steaming and salt has dissolved. Remove from heat and add rosemary and wine. Let stand until completely cooled.
  • Prick 2 pork chops all over with a fork about 1/8-inch deep. Flip the pork chops and repeat pricking the other side. Place in a non-reactive dish just big enough to hold the chops and the brine then pour brine over top. Cover and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to cook, remove the pork chops from the brine (discard brine) and pat completely dry with paper towels.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy, oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat until almost beginning to smoke. Add the pork chops and cook until they begin to brown, about 1 minute on each side.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, flipping the chops every two minutes, until they register 140F to 145F in the thickest part, about 5 – 8 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a clean plate.
  • Add the olive oil to the pan and let it warm over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic, and 4 sprigs fresh thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the apples, chicken broth and cider vinegar to the pan, stirring gently. Place the cooked pork chops on top, gently pressing them into the onion and apple. Place a lid on the pan and cook until the apples are warm and tender but not falling apart, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Serve pork chops with pan juices, apples and onions spooned over top. Garnish with additional fresh sprigs of thyme if desired.

Serves 2; recipe can easily be multiplied.

 

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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