Brined Pork Chops30 mins Serves 6
- 5 pounds bone-in pork chops
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/4 generous teaspoon coriander
- 1 1/2 scant teaspoons black peppercorns
Boil all ingredients, except pork chops, in a large stock pot for several minutes to make the brine. Then, pour the brine over ice to chill.
Once the brine has chilled, add the chops to the brine and store in the refrigerator to brine for 16 hours.
After the pork chops have finished brining, place a large cast iron skillet on high heat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pork chops from the mixture and discard the brine.
Sear pork chops in the scorching cast iron pan for roughly 1-2 minutes on each side.
Then, finish the chops in the oven, baking for 8 minutes.
Serve with Pickled Apples, Braised Kale and Pork Belly, and Butternut Squash Puree With Fromage Blanc.
Pickled Apples15 mins Serves 6
- 1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 clove
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup ice
- 3 apples, thinly sliced
Combine first four ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.
Remove the pickling liquid from heat and add ice to cool.
Once the brine is cool, slice apples — a mandolin is a big help if you have one available — and add them to the brine.
Braised Kale and Pork Belly20 mins Serves 6
- 1 cup slab bacon or pork belly
- 2 quarts kale leaves
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a cast iron skillet until smoking hot. Cut your slab bacon or pork belly into 1-inch strips and place the chunks into the skillet. Sear the pork until almost crispy and fat has released into the pan.
Rinse kale and rip into medium pieces. Add directly into the skillet.
After kale has cooked for a couple of minutes, deglaze the pan with apple cider vinegar. Toss and turn kale often to cover in bacon grease.
Butternut Squash Puree With Fromage Blanc25 mins Serves 6
- 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup fromage blanc
Cut butternut squash into 1-inch cubes, and boil or roast until soft.
After squash is cool enough to handle, place in blender or in a large bowl or saucepan and use an immersion blender. Add butter and salt, and blend until smooth.
Finally, whisk in fromage blanc just before serving.
This seasonal side makes an excellent accompaniment for virtually any recipe, but we especially enjoy it with Brined Pork Chops, Pickled Apples, and Braised Kale and Pork Belly. Want to give this recipe a twist when butternut squash is out of season? Try substituting sweet potatoes instead!
In “Farm to Oven” in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this Saturday, we had a great time digging into Northwest Arkansas’s farm-to-table movement! We got to hear more about its history and meet two leaders in its restaurant presence by visiting Wood Stone Craft Pizza co-owners Chef Jerrmy Gawthrop and Clayton Suttle. Then, we gathered up ingredients from seven local farms and followed Chef Gawthrop into the kitchen to learn how to make an outstanding meal: Brined Pork Chops With Pickled Apples, Braised Kale and Pork Belly, and Butternut Squash Puree. It’s a feast you can share to celebrate the great, fresh ingredients available in The Natural State!
"Cook With Brooks" airs on Saturdays at 5 p.m.