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Grilled Pork Chops With Apple Cider Sauce

Grilled Pork Chops with Apple Cider Sauce

— Becky Luigart-Stayner/Corbis

Serves 6

Brining the pork chop is the most important part of this recipe. The brine adds another layer of flavor to the pork and helps to keep it juicy and tender.

Brine

3 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 clove
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
3/4 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon anise seed
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 pork chops (10 ounces each)

Apple Cider Sauce (recipe follows)

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, grind bay leaves, peppercorns, clove, red pepper, thyme and anise seed to a fine powder.

In a large bowl, prepare brine by mixing together 1 gallon water, the sugar and the salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in the herb-spice mix and the garlic. Cover the pork chops with the brine, cover the bowl with wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 hours.

Preheat a grill. Place the pork chops on the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. Keep the chops warm while you prepare the sauce.

Apple Cider Sauce

1 tablespoon blended oil*
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup unfiltered apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

To make the sauce, heat the oil and sauté the shallots in a saucepan over medium heat until they are translucent. Add the sage and apple slices and cook until the apples are soft and begin to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the cider, vinegar and chicken stock, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Puree the mixture in a blender and strain.

To serve, heat the sauce until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and pistachios.

*Blended oil, 1 part olive oil to 3 parts canola oil, is subtle in flavor and will not overwhelm the other flavors in a dish.

Adapted from The Girl & The Fig Cookbook (Simon & Schuster, 2004) with permission by Sondra Bernstein.

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