I am a big fan of “the other white meat” and particularly when that white meat is made more tender and flavorful through the process of brining. This time of the year with an abundance of fresh cider readily available, it’s time for cider brining and delicious roasted pork chops. This recipe is going to take a bit of planning in that the chops are at their most juicy and tender if brined overnight. Brine is easily made, but takes some time to cool, so allow for this. The next day you pretty much have it made when it’s time for dinner. Pop a potato into the oven before you get started with the preparation, have some English peas ready to be warmed in a nearby pan, and begin making a delicious fall meal.
Cider-Brined Pork Chops in Bourbon Sauce
4 1-inch-thick brined rib chops
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup Bourbon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
To make brine:
2 cups fresh apple cider
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
3 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
2 cups ice water
Bring cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaf to boil in a large saucepan, stirring to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Stir in ice water and allow to cool completely. Place chops in 9x9-inch glass baking dish. Top with brine. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Remove chops from brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season chops with pepper and dust lightly with flour.
Heat olive oil in a 12” oven safe sauté pan over medium high heat. Brown chops, on both sides, turning after 3-4 minutes. Cover pan with oven safe lid or foil, and place in preheated oven for 10 minutes to roast. Remove chops to a warm platter.
Sauté garlic and shallot in drippings over medium-high heat until soft (1-2 minutes). Deglaze pan with bourbon and broth. Stir in sugar and vinegar. Cook to reduce by half.
Stir in cream and add pork chops back to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until sauce has thickened to your liking and pork chops are done.
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