Recipes Main Courses Pork Pork Chops with Roasted Apple, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Pork Chops with Roasted Apple, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Apples and pork chops are a classic marriage, and so are pork and cabbage. (Brussels sprouts are cousins of cabbage, after all.) Here, brussels sprouts are glazed with apple cider and served alongside these pork chops. The goat cheese gets soft from the residual heat of the pork and vegetables, melting into the dish and adding a nice, tangy contrast.

Before being seared, the chops are first soaked in an almond milk brine, which adds nutty and forest herbal notes to highlight the natural flavors of pork. This method of cooking pork chops is fast and gives fantastic results. The sugars from the brine caramelize a bit when the pork cooks, contributing a slight crispy edge.

Ingredients:

For the almond milk brine:

  • 1 quart (32 fl. oz./1 l) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) brown sugar
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. dried porcini mushroom pieces


For the seared brined pork chops:

  • 4 pork chops, each 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • Grapeseed or vegetable oil for cooking
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 lb. (1 kg) brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) walnuts
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 2 apples, preferably Honeycrisp or Pink Lady
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) apple cider
  • 4 oz. (125 g) goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

To make the brine, in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the almond milk, salt, brown sugar, sage, thyme, bay leaf and mushrooms. You do not need to boil the liquid; just heat it enough so the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir with a whisk, then transfer to a bowl. Let cool completely.

To make the pork chops, soak the chops in the brine in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove from the brine and allow the chops to come to room temperature, then pat dry with paper towels. Since they have been brined, there is no need to season the chops before cooking.

Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pour in enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil shimmers, carefully add as many pork chops as will fit comfortably in the pan. Sear the pork chops so that they have a nice, even brown color and are cooked to medium, about 5 minutes on each side. (If using a meat thermometer, the center should register 145°F/63°C.) Transfer the chops to a platter and season with salt and pepper. If cooking in 2 batches, rinse and wipe out the pan between batches and cook the remaining chops as directed above. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

You want the brussels sprouts in a variety of shapes and sizes: remove some leaves, cut some in half and leave some smaller ones whole. Spread the sprout pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle on the walnuts. Slice the bacon into 1/2-inch (12-mm) strips and add as well. Cut the apples into thin slices and add them also. Drizzle 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over all the ingredients, and season well with salt and pepper. Place in the oven.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the sage leaves and sauté until crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Add the apple cider and a few pinches of salt to the pan and reduce to a glaze.

When the vegetables in the oven are golden brown, in 15 to 20 minutes, transfer them along with any drippings to the saucepan and toss in the glaze.

Place the vegetables on a serving dish and top with the pork chops. Sprinkle on the goat cheese and the fried sage leaves and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Inside the Test Kitchen, by Tyler Florence (Clarkson Potter, 2014)