The weather here in Ottawa has just been gloriously sunny, cold, but what the hell here it's still winter. I can't complain seeing as my sister got snowed in , in the Washington DC area. The weather is making me feel itchy for some spring cleaning, but that soon passed as I decided to make the "Boys" a nice supper instead. What I started with was a brine for the pork chops. I like to do that sometimes with pork especially when they are a thick cut.
This is a sugar- salt solution with apple juice concentrate. The only sea salt that I had left had lavender in it and that is what you see floating in the brine, it did not call for it, as mentioned it was all that I had and it certainly didn't harm it.
Place the pork chops into the brine and let it marinate for no longer than 2 hours as you really don't want it to break down the meat texture too much.
While the pork is in the brine, get your apples ready for caramelizing and I also decided to serve this with a celery root puree instead of mashed potatoes.
This recipe came from Tyler Florence's book called, "Real Kitchen" with some minor adjustments that I made along the way.
One Boy loved it and had seconds, the other doesn't like his meat with fruit...oh well you can't please everybody. Thankfully the pork chops produced enough Au Jus for him to pour over his celery root puree. ( Hey Ma, why do the potatoes taste funny? #@**?)
1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sea salt
1 cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
1 T black peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprigs
(I also added a bay leaf)
4 pork chops
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
SPICED APPLES & RAISINS
2 T. unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced( I used 3 apples)
2 fresh thyme leaves
1/4 c. raisins
3/4 c. frozen apple juice concentrate
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.ground cloves
pinch of cardamon
pinch of dry mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine the ingredients foe the brine in a plastic bag or bowl. Because this is a cold brine that does not get boiled make sure the salt and sugars are dissolved. Refrigerate and do not brine for longer than 2 hours as the meat will get mushy.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Discard brine, pat the chops dry season with salt and pepper and in a heavy skillet with some EVOO, brown your pork chops for 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops and place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for an extra 30 minutes. They are done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature is between 140-145 degrees.
In the meantime prepare the apples. Melt the butter in a med/high pan add the sliced apples and thyme sprigs and coat in a frying pan for about 8 minutes, until the apples get a nice hue to them.Toss in the raisins and the apple juice stirring up the bits from the pan.Stir in the brown sugar the the rest of the spices. Squeeze in the lemon juice to wake up the flavours and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the apples soften and brown. Serve over the pork chops.