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Category: Main courses

Cider-brined pork chops with wild rice

Cider-brined pork chops with wild rice
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

They call me Pork Boy, and as far as I'm concerned, the Year of the Pig couldn't have come at a better time. At long last, after decades of abuse, my favorite meat is once again getting a little love. ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes, plus brining time | Serves 4
  • Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 4 medium-thick pork chops (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apples
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Pepper

Step 1In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water, 2 1/2 tablespoons salt, the peppercorns and cloves to a simmer. Remove from heat and let steep until room temperature. Add the cider.

Step 2Place the pork chops in a sealable plastic bag and strain the brining mixture over it, discarding the peppercorns and cloves. Squeeze out any air; the brine should just cover the chops. Seal tightly and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Step 3Combine the wild rice, 5 cups of water and three-fourths teaspoon salt in a large saucepan and cook uncovered over medium-high heat until the water has almost entirely evaporated and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain the rice and return to the pan. Add the shallot, cherries and apples. Cover the pan and let stand until the pork is ready.

Step 4Heat a grill pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chops from the marinade and pat dry thoroughly. When the pan is very hot, add the vegetable oil to the pan and add the chops. Sear on one side, about 2 minutes, then turn the chops over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, covered, until the pork is lightly browned and firm, about 7 to 8 minutes and 132 to 135 degrees (the temperature will increase as it rests). It should still be slightly pink inside and moist. (If using a grill pan, you can use any metal pan lid that will cover the chops as you cook them; the objective is to keep them covered so they can steam as they grill and cook faster.)

Step 5When the pork is ready, season the rice to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the almonds and red wine vinegar. Spoon a mound of wild rice on each plate and tilt a pork chop against it. Serve immediately.

Each serving:
625 calories; 45 grams protein; 75 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 92 mg. cholesterol; 88 mg. sodium.
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