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Pork Chops with Cider-Braised Shallots

(recipe, Matthew Amster-Burton)

Introduction

These chops deliver the marriage of pork and apple without the sugar bomb of applesauce. Serve with hard cider, of course.

Ingredients

    Brine
    1. 2 cups cold water
    2. ¼ cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 2 tablespoons table salt)
    3. ¼ cup sugar
    Chops
    1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    2. 4 bone-in, pork-rib chops, about 8 ounces each
    3. 2 large shallots, minced
    4. 1 cup dry hard cider
    5. 4 Tbsp. cold butter
    6. 2 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs (try a mix of thyme and oregano)

    Steps

    1. Stir together the water, kosher salt, and sugar until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Place the pork chops in a baking dish, pour the brine over, and refrigerate 1 hour, turning the chops after 30 minutes.
    2. Heat the oil in a large stainless skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dry the chops thoroughly with paper towels and sprinkle with pepper. Add the chops to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook an additional 3 minutes. Continue cooking as necessary to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with foil.
    3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to high, add the cider and any accumulated juices from the pork, and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the browned bits are dissolved and the cider is syrupy and reduced to about ½ cup. Off the heat, stir in the butter and season with salt to taste. Stir in the herbs, pour the sauce and shallots over the pork, and serve.

    Note

    Read more about hard cider in Matthew Amster-Burton's "The cider house rules."