Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pork, Pears and Parsnips: The 3 P's combined anew

I never liked the word loin, but in this case I approve of the usage.
This is a delicious and easy way to prepare pork.

Sage-Brined Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Glaze: 
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2 1-inch thick, center cut, boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Olive oil

Heat one cup of the water to a simmer either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add the salt and sage, and stir until the salt has dissolved. Mix in a second cup of cold water to cool the brine down and let stand until mixture is lukewarm.

Place the pork loins in a shallow dish and pour the brine solution over the top. The brine should completely cover the pork. If not, either transfer the pork to a smaller containter or flip the pork halfway through brining. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. I let mine sit for at least three.

When ready to cook, place a cast-iron, stainless steel, or other oven safe skillet in the oven on the center rack. Heat the oven to 400 F. Remove the pork loins from the brine solution, pat dry and let them warm on the counter while the oven is heating. Discard the brine.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and place it over medium high heat on the stove top. Rub the pork loins with vegetable oil and lay them in the center of the pan about an inch apart. Sear for about 3 minutes or until the underside of the pork chop is golden.

Flip the pork chops and spread a tablespoon of brown sugar over the surface of each chop. Immediately place the pan in the oven. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the center of the chops are just barely pink and register 140 to 146 on a thermometer. If the brown sugar hasn't melted all the way, run the pan under the broiler for a few seconds.

Remove the pork chops from the pan and cover with aluminum foil while you plate the rest of your meal. Don't leave them in the pan or they will become tough. Spoon some of the pan juices over the pork chips just before serving.

(Recipe: by Emma Christensen.)

While your pork chops are brining, I highly suggest making the following side dish as an accompaniment. Plus, it is a great recipe for so many different things.

Gingered Pears and Parsnips:
2 Bosc pears, quartered
3 parsnips, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
juice of 1 lemon
a few slices of ginger
1 bay leaf
a pinch of sugar and red pepper flakes

Combine everything, partially cover and boil until liquid evaporates and the pears brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in a splash of water.

I would check the parsnips frequently while making this; mine became a little mushier than I wanted. I do like a nice crunch to my parsnips. The leftover sauce is so yummy I saved it and poured it over the pork as well.

(Food Network Magazine)


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