Friday, September 19, 2008

Brined Pork Chops (Page 482)


  • Date: Monday, September 8, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A

I am not doing so well on the meat sections in The Book so Matty and I are trying to eat more meat. This recipe was part of that effort. My only real experience with brining meat comes from making Thanksgiving turkeys. I am a firm believer in a brined turkey and would never make one any other way. My enthusiasm for brining didn't extend past poultry until I made this recipe though. But now it does -- Matty and I agreed that these may be the best pork chops we have ever eaten. Plus, they were extremely easy to make. The day before we cooked them, I prepared a brine of water, salt, mustard seeds, sugar, pickling spices, and garlic. I boiled and then cooled the brine mixture, then submerged the chops in it and let them sit in the refrigerator for a day. Twenty-four hours later I pulled them out of the brine, dried them off and browned them on the stove in olive oil. I then finished the chops in the oven, roasting them to 145 degrees. Once they reached that temperature, I pulled them out and let them rest while I deglazed the pan with some Rielsing and chicken broth. After the meat was rested, I poured some sauce over and served. It was delicious! Brining is amazing! The idea is simple enough. The liquid you brine in is extremely salty, so by osmosis the cells in the meat pull in some of that salt. This saltiness also denatures some of the proteins in the meat, which has the effect of trapping the liquid in as the meat cooks. It sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but eating is believing. Brined meat is incredibly flavorful, and fantastically juicy. This pork was no exception. The flavor of the brine permeated throughout the meat, and there wasn't even the slightest hint of dryness in a single bite of the chop. It was awesome. The pan sauce was also flavorful and complemented the meat well. The only criticism I can make is that the meat was very slightly salty. For Matty and I this was no problem -- we love salt! But this might not be the right choice for someone who prefers their food with very little salt.

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except that the recipe in The Book indicates to roast the pork to 145 degrees rather than 155 degrees, and then let it rest for 10 minutes.

Emilee bought me a whole slew of wedding magazines while I was in California, and I was perusing them on the plane ride home yesterday. One of them contained a quiz, which promised to tell me what kind of bride I am: Romantic, Natural, Trendy, or Global. The article informed me that taking this quiz was the first step towards creating a "truly personal day." How can you argue with that? So I busted out my pen and started circling away! It wasn't totally clear to me what this quiz was capturing, but it was fun. Sample question:

9. The Madonna song you love most is:

A. "Crazy for You"
B. "Rain"
C. "La Isla Bonita"
D. "Vogue"

I answered 22 such questions, about what I watch on TV, what my favorite course in college was (strangely my actual favorite course was not one of the choices...), what color nail polish I get on my nails, etc... and then all I had left was to tally in order to get deep insight into who I am and what type of wedding I should have! The problem: my tally was as follows. I chose:

5 Romantic answers
6 Natural answers
6 Global answers
5 Trendy answers

So what kind of bride am I? Eclectic, I guess. Sadly I can't turn the page to find my "Ultimate dress, bouquet, invitation, cake, cocktail, and favor!" for the category I invented myself. That's probably OK. I am thinking that our wedding is going to bear little resemblance to most of them in the magazine!


Deniz said...

This cracks me up! Funny timing, too. I'm cleaning out our office b/c I had to make room for the printer we finally bought a year after our old one breaking...and came across my 2 foot stack of wedding magazines. It always killed me that basically the entire magazine is an ad. And, almost all the ads are for wedding dresses so once you have one, much of the magazine is moot. I still couldn't resist buying them, though, even if I just found one tiny idea that I might use :).

Teena said...

Yeah, those magazines are irresistible. Even though I have a big stack now I was considering buying another one yesterday!