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Cider-Brined Pork Chops with Dried Fruit Chutney


Pork Chops

4 cups unfiltered apple cider

4 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon allspice berries

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

1 teaspoon dried crushed chile flakes

4 cups ice

6 large pork chops, center cut, bone-in, about 1 inch thick

2 fresh thyme sprigs, each 4 inches in length

2 fresh rosemary sprigs, each 4 inches in length

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon oil, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon butter, plus more as needed

Dried Fruit Chutney

6 ounces dried apricots, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 ounce dried tart cherries (about ¼ cup)

1 ounce golden raisins (about ¼ cup)

1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

⅓ cup unfiltered cider vnegar

⅓ cup packed light brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, finel chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Zest and juice of one fresh lemon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup blanched slivered almonds


Pork Chops
  1. Bring the cider, salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns, and chile flakes to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the salt and brown sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice to cool the mixture. Stir until the ice dissolves.
  2. Place the pork chops in one or two large zip-top bags. Drop in the thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Carefully pour the brine into the bags. Gently squeeze out the air and close the bag, making sure the pork is submerged in brine. Place the bags in a large bowl to catch any drips and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Remove the chops from the brine, blot them dry with paper towels, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Discard the brine.
  5. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops to the skillet, making sure to not crowd them in the pan; work in batches if necessary. Cook the chops, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Add more oil and butter to the skillet if needed for the second batch.
  6. Transfer the browned chops to a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted sideways into a chop without touching bone registers 140 degrees, 6 to 10 minutes. (The meat will be medium in the center, but the meat juices will show no traces of pink.) Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before serving with the dried fruit chutney.
Dried Fruit Chutney
  1. Combine the apricots, cherries, raisins, onion, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and any remaining liquid is syrupy, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, and almonds. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Transfer the chutney to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. (Make-ahead note: store covered and refrigerated for up to one month.)
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