Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sage and Maple Brined Pork Chops with a Maple Sage Brown Butter Sauce.

Are you brining your meat? (why does that sound dirty?) If you aren't you should be. If I am cooking pork or poultry I always try to brine if I can.
Brine doesn't need to be anything other that water and salt but it's always best to get some other flavors in there. Bringing typically takes 6-8 hours for small cuts and up to 12 for larger items like whole turkeys or pork loins

For 4,  1/2 inch thick pork chops you will need

3 cups water
8 ice cubes
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons dried sage

I like bone in pork chops, if you use boneless chops you may need to add some more butter as I find they have less fat. You need the fat.

Heat two cups of water, the salt, maple syrup and sage to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring to be sure salt gets completely dissolved.

Add in the other cup of water and the ice cubes to cool the brine. Once the brine is cooled pour over the pork chops and stash them in the fridge.

When it's time to cook discard the brine, rinse and dry the pork chops. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375

For cooking and the sauce you will need

4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons dried sage
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Add the butter and sage to an oven safe pan an cook over medium, stirring frequently until it has just started to turn brown. For more on brown butter check here. Once the butter has started to brown add the pork chops, cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip to the other side for 1-2 minutes to coat. transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 6-8 minutes. If you want you can finish under the broiler for 2 minutes per side for a darker color. I would reduce the cooking time to 6 minutes at most if you are going to do so.

After cooking/broiling remove the chops from the pan, and return the pan to a burner over medium high heat.  there should be a good layer of liquid in the pan from the pork, if you don't think there will be enough sauce you can add some chicken stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to low, add the maple and balsamic stir for a minute or two to incorporate everything, ladle it over your pork chops and serve. The maple should almost caramelize in the pan..

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