Saturday, October 27, 2012

Quick-Brined Pork Chops with Fruit Compote


My sister just sent this recipe from William Sonoma. She said that her husband liked it so much that he wanted it again the next night.  We've replaced the maple flakes (who has that on the shelf?) with maple syrup.

2 cups room-temperature water
2 star anise pods
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cups ice water
6 boneless pork chops, each about 8 oz. and 3/4 to 1 inch thick
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup apple cider
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil


Brine chops:
 In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the room-temperature water, star anise, 2 of the bay leaves, 1 of the cinnamon sticks, the thyme, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, maple flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, then transfer to a large bowl and add the ice water. Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Make Compote:
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, apple cider, brown sugar, the remaining bay leaf and cinnamon stick, the cayenne and apples and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Uncover and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes more. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Serve the fruit compote warm or at room temperature.

Grill Chops:
Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the olive oil over the chops and rub evenly on both sides. Grill chops,about 4 minutes per side, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 145°F. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the fruit compote and smashed potatoes. Serves 6.


Chinese Chicken Thighs

I found this recipe last night, and I made it for dinner.  Wow--really delicious and easy. Serve this with jasmine rice and your choice of veg. I think that this would be amazing with chicken wings too (I would brown them in the oven, then add the sauce and bake.)

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper
8  chicken thighs (Remove the skin if you want to make this lower in calories)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp dry thyme  
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped  
Garnish:
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Green onions, chopped


Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, brown the chicken thighs.  Discard the oil and set the chicken aside.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and green onions. Put the chicken thighs back in the skillet, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, place the chicken skin side up and cook, basting, until the sauce is syrupy and glazes the chicken (about 15 more minutes).  Remove from skillet to platter and garnish with fresh cilantro and green onions.