As you can see from the recipes I post, I don’t develop my own recipes (it’s one of my goals for 2013). I see what others make and enjoy, and either make their exact recipes, or adapt them slightly.
When I’ve neglected my meal planning, or don’t have a specific recipe in mind for dinner, I either season with salt and pepper and throw together a pan sauce, or season with a store-bought spice blend, like Italian seasoning, Montreal seasoning, etc. It’s quick, easy, and usually tasty, though it does get repetitive.
When I saw a recipe for brined pork chops on Elly Says Opa!, I immediately bookmarked it to try later. Brining draws liquid and flavor into the meat to keep it moist during the cooking process. When I used to host Thanksgiving dinner, I always brined my turkey.
In fact, it was my “go-to” Thanksgiving recipe that inspired me to adapt Elly’s. You see, I brined my turkey in apple cider, salt and spices. So, I swapped the water in Elly’s recipe for apple cider. The result? Amazing! Tender, moist meat with apple and sage flavor in every bite. The brown sugar glaze adds a slightly sweet crunch — definitely don’t skip this step!
I used bone-in pork chops instead of boneless, since that’s what I had in my freezer. Bone-in meat cooks faster than boneless, so if you do the same, cut your baking time in Step 5 down to 3 to 5 minutes.
Cider-and-Sage Brined Pork Chops
|Meal type||Main Dish|
|Website||Slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa!|
- 2 cups apple cider (divided)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage (about 8 small leaves)
- 2 center-cut, boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Canola oil
- Ground black pepper
|In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of the apple cider and the kosher salt. Add the sage, and stir just until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the second cup of apple cider. Set aside to cool until lukewarm.|
|Place the pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the brine mixture into the bag, press out as much air as possible, and seal. Place in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.|
|When ready to cook, move an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place an oven-safe skillet (preferable cast-iron) in the oven. Remove the pork from the refrigerator, remove from the brine and pat dry with paper towels (discard the brine). Let the pork come to room temperature while the oven preheats.|
|Remove the skillet from the oven (use a potholder!) and set on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Rub one side of each pork chop with canola oil and sprinkle with ground pepper. Place oil-side down in the skillet and saute for 3 minutes.|
|Flip each chop over, and spread 2 tbsp of brown sugar over each pork chop. Immediately place the entire skillet back in the oven and cook the chops for 5 to 7 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees and the brown sugar has melted.|