Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pork Chops in Brine

Soaking the chops in a brine is a great way to impart flavour into the pork chops. It lifts the flavour of the chops to another level. Finishing the chop in the oven helps it to cook more gently and evenly.

Bone-in Pork Chops with Oven Baked Potatoes and Onion Jam

Ingredients for 2
2 pork chops bone-in (about 350-400 grams each)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking oil for pan searing

2 sprigs of fresh parsley - roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh sage - roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary - leaves only, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves only
5 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar (White wine vinegar is fine as well)
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cups of water

1. In a large bowl or container, mix the vinegar, water and lemon juice. The add in the sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Then add in all the herbs. Place the chops in the liquid and ensure they are fully submerged. Add a little more water (maybe a teaspoon or so of vinegar) to the brine if there is not enough liquid to cover the chops. Soak the chops in the brine for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

2. When ready to cook the chops, Preheat your oven to 130 degrees celsius. Take the chops out of the liquid and pat really dry. Season with salt and pepper. If any of the herbs or garlic from the brine stick to the pork chops, just leave them on.

3. Now heat some oil in a cast iron skillet (or thick based frying pan) over high heat. When the pan gets really hot, place the chops into the pan and sear for about 2 minutes. Turn the chop over, with the seared side up, place the pan in the oven for another 20 minutes or so. (Cooking times depend on the thickness of your chop, mine were about an inch thick). I sprinkled some dried rosemary before the chops entered the oven, but that's just a personal preference.

Note, if your pan cannot enter the oven, just transfer the chop to a baking dish. Preferably heated as well. If the baking dish is cold, the cooking time in the oven should be a few minutes longer. You can just finish cooking on the pan too, about 4 minutes per side.

4. Serve wtih a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil together with your preferred sides.

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