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Quick-Brined Pork Chops with Roasted Butternut Squash

I did my meal planning a little backwards this week. The Mister went food shopping, and I chose meals based on what he bought. We usually get the same kinds and cuts of meat, so seeing pork chops in the freezer was not a surprise.

I've also taken on a rather large and intimidating project of organizing my saved recipes. Some are saved in digital form (re-typed into Word documents, saved as PDFs), and some are hard-copy pages, torn from magazines. I'm staring with the digital recipes, looking for them online, and saving a link to the recipe in a Google document spreadsheet.

The recipe below is an adaptation of a brined pork chop recipe from the August 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. We really enjoyed it. I often end up drying pork chops out when I cook them in the oven, but that didn't happen this time. The brine imparted extra flavor to the chops. And I love the pairing of butternut squash with pork. Yes, it's typically a fall-weather pairing, but this dish is light enough for spring.

For even more flavor, add fresh rosemary, garlic, or blackberries to the balsamic vinegar as it is reducing.

Quick-Brined Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze and Roasted Butternut Squash
Adapted from Bon Appetit and Food.com


Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3 tbsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 20 oz frozen diced butternut squash, thawed (if using fresh, peel, seed and dice to  ½-inch cubes)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix water, coarse salt, and sugar in 9x13-inch baking dish; stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add pork chops; let brine 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with tinfoil, spray with nonstick spray. 
  3. Remove pork chops from brine, pat dry and place on one sheet pan. Brush with olive oil and season with pepper to taste. 
  4. Combine melted butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Spread butternut squash in a single layer in second sheet pan. Pour butter mixture over squash, and toss to coat. 
  5. Place both sheet pans in the oven and cook until pork reaches 145 degrees and squash are fork-tender (about 15 minutes). 
  6. While pork is cooking, place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan. Boil until reduced to  ¼ cup (about 5 minutes). Whisk in butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  7. Transfer to serving plate and drizzle glaze over pork chops. 

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Jaida

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

I am on board with anything that includes balsamic vinegar! These look great!

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