Saturday, December 24, 2016

Cranberry Maple Pork Chops!

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Happy Christmas Eve or Hanukkah or just a pleasant winter's night! In any case, its a festive time of the year whether you're spending it peacefully or surrounded by joyful cheers - be safe, be kind, and be thankful. For me, this year is going to be a quiet one but that's okay, you could almost say my holiday family gathering came early this year because I got to see all my relatives when I was in China last month and it was definitely full of joyful cheers and delicious foods!
    
And because we're in high spirits, here is a recipe to match! I'm so glad the internet the exists because when you have nothing planned for dinner, the internet to the rescue! I had pork chops I didn't know what to do with, then I came across this recipe and it was perfect because I also happened to have fresh cranberries and maple syrup sitting around the fridge, I love when things work out! .... except for the small battle scar from popping cranberries as they cooked down, never worked with them before, didn't know they did that...now I know. Be careful!

These came out super tasty and I learned something new, how to brine! I've heard of it before but prior to, didn't really give it any thoughts. Basically you soak your meat in a cold salt water bath for a few hours and it makes the meat super moist. Why? Well actually Julie, from Bunsen Burner Bakery where I got this recipe does an awesome job explaining it (as a fellow science nerd, that made me all giddy inside!) just follow the link below. I'm going to have to do this brining business more often. It's easy and makes a huge difference, you won't regret.

Cranberry Maple Pork Chops
adapted from Bunsen Burner Bakery
Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless pork chops (1.5" to 2" thick)
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 2 cups of ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp Grand Mariner 
  • 1 tsp fresh (or dried) rosemary
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
Procedure: 
  1.  Make brine: combine warm water, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl, stir until dissolved. Add in ice cube to cool water (approx 45F or lower). Completely submerge pork chops into the brine, refrigerate for at least 2 hrs or more.
  2. Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry. 
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat up olive oil over medium high heat and sear pork on both sides until nearly cooked (about 140F internal temp) and remove from pan. Let rest lightly wrap in foil
  4. Make cranberry sauce: In the same pan, de-glaze with chicken broth, cranberries, maple syrup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Grand Mariner and mustard. Cook while stirring occasionally until thickens (about 10 minutes) 
  5. Return the pork (and its juices) back into the cranberry sauce and coat, then enjoy.

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