Earlier this week I picked up a pack of boneless pork chops, there were 8 of those little things in the pack. We had a few of them in the old school Shake N' Bake style with roasted potatoes and frozen corn. Tasty. The rest of them I trimmed up--cleaned off the excess fat and unsavory parts, put them in a container for tonight.
As soon as I got home, I mixed 1 TB of honey, about 2 tsp salt and 2 cups of water. When the honey and salt were totally dissolved in the water, I poured that into the container with the chops. Dropped in a few peppercorns and cloves, sealed the bowl up and tossed them back in the fridge. Two hours later, I removed them and prepared them for dinner.
But in the meantime I made my side dish....this rice:
I bought this tub of rice awhile back and have been using it more and more. It's nutty and tasty and filling...and pretty healthy. I sauteed 1/4 of a diced onion in 1 TB of olive oil. About 3-5 minutes in, I tossed the rice into the pot, stirred to coat with the oil and added 2 1/2 cups of water and brought it all to a simmer. I added some salt and pepper at this point. Oh, and about 1 tsp of chicken base. Cover and simmer for about 40-45 minutes. Stirring every ten minutes or so. During the last five minutes, I added a 1/4 cup of diced, dried cherries. When cooking was done and the rice had absorbed most of the liquid, I added a 1/4 cup of diced apple.
I set aside the rice and moved on to the pork chops.
When the chops are removed from the brine, pat them dry with a paper towel. If you have a grill pan, place it over medium heat until nice and hot. Carefully place your chops on the grill. Give them about three minutes and pick them up and rotate a quarter turn. Go another few minutes, flip and repeat. Those would be grill marks you just made!
Since pork chops and apples go so well together...here is the apple component.
Slice the apple about 1/4 inch thick. Very lightly, brush with balsamic vinegar and give them a light sprinkle of salt. Once you've flipped the chops, add the apples to the grill pan. Brush the second side and add another pinch of salt.
The chops and the apple slices will be done at approximately the same time. That was just shy of ten minutes for the chops and about three minutes for the apples...you want the apples to soften just a touch and get some grill markings on them, but you really don't want them to cook too much or they'll go mushy.
Plate up and enjoy!
I was really pleased with how succulent and tasty the chops were after the soak. My original plan was to soak them in cider instead of water...but I didn't have any and didn't want to go to the store on the way home from work. So that's why I added the honey. There is the light sweetness, but not the particular flavor of honey. The cloves and peppercorn didn't add any flavor. If I had more time, I might have simmered all the ingredients to allow the flavors to come together more, but then I would have had to allow the whole deal to chill before adding the pork. Live and learn.
I loved the grilled apples and chops together. I added the balsamic to give a slight to the whole thing...good move! Now I just need to invest in some good balsamic, instead of the cheap-o store brand.