Pear-Brined Pork ChopPork
Serve steamed broccoli or a spinach salad on the side. And to mix things up, try using apple juice in the brine instead of pear nectar and making apple puree instead of pear. Recipe courtesy of Top Chef All-Stars Winner Richard Blais
6 Porterhouse pork chops (3/4-inch thick)
2 mustard seeds (tablspoons)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon rosemary (fresh, plus a few sprigs, chopped and divided)
1/2 teaspoon sage (fresh, plus a few sprigs, chopped and divided)
4 cups pear nectar (divided)
3 tablespoons lard
2 tablespoons butter (unsalted, melted)
1 clove garlic (minced)
macaroni & cheese (Cauliflower)
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1In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, combine mustard seed, peppercorns, celery seed, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are toasted and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, rosemary sprigs, sage sprigs, and about 1 cup pear nectar, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet and stirring until salt dissolves. Transfer mixture to a refrigerator container and add remaining pear nectar. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
2Transfer pear nectar mixture to a resealable bag, add pork, and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
3Remove pork from pear nectar mixture (discard mixture) and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, chopped rosemary, and chopped sage.
4In each of two large skillets over medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons lard. Place 3 chops in each skillet and cook until browned on one side, 4 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on other side, another 4 minutes, brushing top of chops with butter mixture. Turn and brush again with butter mixture. Transfer chops to a plate or platter and let rest 5 minutes
5To serve, spread pear puree on serving plates, top with chops, and garnish with reserved cauliflower pieces. Serve cauliflower macaroni and cheese on the side.