Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 2 hr
Cook: 40 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

PORK CHOPS:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    SPICED APPLES AND RAISINS:
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • Pinch dry mustard
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 lemon
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    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a mixing bowl combine the water, brown sugar, sea salt, apple juice concentrate, peppercorns, and thyme. Give it a good stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Transfer the mixture to an extra-large re-sealable plastic bag. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, seal up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not brine longer than that or the meat will break down too much and get mushy.

    Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count drizzle of olive oil and get it hot. Lay 2 pork chops in the pan (most likely only 2 of these massive pork chops will fit comfortably) and brown 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a large baking pan; brown the remaining 2 chops and add them to the others in the pan. Put the baking pan in the oven and roast the chops for 30 minutes. The pork is done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature reads 140 to 145 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer.

    While the chops cook, melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 8 minutes to give them some color. Toss in the raisins and add the apple juice, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and dry mustard; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon to wake up the flavor and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples break down and soften. Spoon the spiced apples over the pork chops.

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