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Cider-Brined Pork Chops

March/April 2007

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Once brined, these chops can be pan-fried, broiled or grilled. The main caution here is not to overcook them. Brining (soaking in a salt solution) helps keep the chops firm and juicy, but even brining will not prevent dry hard chops if overcooked. Bone-in rib chops at least 1 inch thick are the best choice for this recipe, and each one is typically large enough to feed two people. Using the thicker chops and dividing them before serving is much better than trying to cook super-thin chops, which can easily be overcooked before they are browned on the outside.


Cider-Brined Pork Chops Recipe

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Brine

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups ice

Pork Chops & Sauteed Apples

  • 2 bone-in pork rib chops, (about 1 3/4 pounds, 1-1 1/4 inch thick), trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider

Preparation

  1. To prepare cider brine: Pour cider and water into a bowl and stir in salt until dissolved, then stir in honey and cinnamon until the honey is dissolved. Stir in ice and check to see that the mixture registers 45°F or lower on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. To prepare chops & apples: Place chops in a large sealable plastic bag. Carefully add the brine to the bag, seal, then place the bag in a bowl in case of any leaks. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
  3. Combine sage, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon ginger in a small bowl. Remove the chops from the brine. (Discard bag and brine.) Sprinkle both sides of the chops with the sage mixture.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add oil and the chops. Cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate.
  5. Melt butter in the pan; add onion, stir to coat, cover and cook, stirring often, until starting to turn translucent and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits; cook for 1 minute. Stir in apple, cider and 1/8 teaspoon ginger; bring to a boil. Nestle the chops into the sauce, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Turn the chops, cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 145°F, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chops to a warm platter and tent with foil.
  6. Bring the sauce in the pan to a boil and cook until it is syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chops and serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Brine chops (Steps 1-2) for up to 8 hours.

Nutrition

Per serving: 261 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat, 6 g mono); 74 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 1 g fiber; 369 mg sodium; 490 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (51% daily value), Zinc (22% dv), Potassium (14% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 3 lean meat



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Recipe Categories

Ethnic/Regional
American
Servings
4
Main Ingredient
Pork
Preparation/ Technique
Brine
Saute
Meal/Course
Dinner

Ease of Preparation
Moderate
Type of Dish
Main dish, meat
Total Time
1 hour or less
Publication
March/April 2007

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