The sugar from the cider brine causes a deliciously sweet caramelized crust on the chops, and the process renders the inside perfectly seasoned and moist.
- Cider Brine
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Chops and Pan Sauce
- 2 1" thick, bone-in center cut pork chops
- 1/4 cup calvados
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Place all brine ingredients in a medium saucepan, and stir over low heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place chops in a single layer in a shallow pan, cover fully with brine, wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, remove the chops from the brine, rinse well under cold water, and dry with paper towels before continuing.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Add pork to skillet and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; cover with foil and keep warm.
Pour off excess oil, and deglaze the pan with the calvados over medium heat , scraping the bottom of the pan well, letting the brandy reduce to a glaze. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet over medium heat and add the shallots and thyme, and sauté 2 minutes.
Stir in cream and cider; boil until mixture thickens to sauce consistency, about 3 minutes. Stir in mustard, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and serve with the pork.