Sunday Dinner, Brined Pork Chops and Roasted Kabocha Squash
|Pan roasted chops and kabocha squash|
For a very long time, I did not like porkchops, they were dry and tough and about as appetizing as shoe leather. Then I had a brined pork chop, and my perception of them took a 180. Now they are succulent and juicy and the perfect canvas for any set of flavors. This brine is nice because the meat needs just 2 hours to be ready.
It is Sunday night and I was in the mood to prepare a meat and potatoes kind of meal. So I hit the grocery store in the morning to see what looked good and two things jumped out at me, thick cut bone-in pork chops and kabocha squash. I have a Finger Lakes (that is Upstate New York) Pinot Noir I've been dying to try, and I figured this meal would be the perfect accompaniment.
2 bone-in pork chops (the thicker the better)
1 small kabocha squash
salt/pepper to taste
For the brine:
3/4 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup kosher salt (DO NOT use regular white table salt!)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dried shallots
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1/2 tsp juniper berries
Put the vinegar, salt, sugar, shallots, peppercorns, allspice and juniper into a small pot and bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Add a cup of ice to cool the mixture down.
Put the brine in a ziplock bag (or vessel of your choice) to brine the chops. Add your chops to the brine and soak them for 2 hours (turning or rotating the chops so they get equally submerged in the brine.)
After an hour, preheat the oven to 400 F and wash the squash (the skin is edible).
While the squash is roasting, preheat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Pull the pork chops out of the brine, rinse them quickly and pat dry. Add a little grapeseed (or vegetable) oil to the pan and when it shimmers, add the pork chops. Brown on the first side (about 5 minutes) then flip over. After 2 minutes, place the entire pan with the chops on the top rack of your oven (where you are roasting the squash) for another 5-10 minutes (depending how "done" you like your chops.)
|Thick-cut chops ready to go in the oven.|
Pull the chops out of the oven and let them rest for another 5-10 minutes while the squash finishes cooking. Serve with a delicious glass of wine and enjoy!
Labels: Mains, Pork, Squash, Wine Info