Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops with Apples and Bacon
Planning ahead never tasted so good!
Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops with Apples and Bacon is a one pot skillet dinner your family will LOVE. Fast and easy with minimal prep time, this is not your usual weeknight dinner. Fast, easy and elegant. Great for entertaining, too!
I’ve been binge-watching Friends….nonstop…..again. I can’t stop. I think I may have confessed my problem over a year ago but it’s still happening and I think it’s because it’s like a fluffy, well-loved sweatshirt that’s familiar….and comforting. You know all the pulls fairly intimately and you have a story for all the random stains that may be on the front of it. I know it doesn’t sound like a great analogy but to me, Friends takes me back to a time when I didn’t have to adult so freaking hard. Know what I mean? Like my sweatshirt (yes, I actually have a fluffy, well-loved sweatshirt that may or may not have random stains and a ton of pulls…hypothetically, of course.) BUT anyway, tonight….I surfed around the Netflix menu in the hopes that I’d find something new and….I did….but I had commitment issues. The reason? I know if I start another series I’ll be up until 3 AM because I need to know what happens next. With Friends…..I always know what happens next.
It’s like cooking for me….I have a lot of recipes that are tried and true. Recipes where I know what happens next. Lessons I learned over the years of what works and what doesn’t. How you should never sprinkle cornstarch over a hot liquid to thicken it because…..lumps. And how, if you add certain things to hot dairy….it will curdle. And….if you make a brine out of Apple Cider….you can infuse the sweetest, most amazing flavor into your favorite meats. Like chicken and pork chops. These Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops with Apples and Bacon are a fall staple in my house. I look forward to apple season as much for my caramel apples as I do for the apple cider. And the brine in this recipe keeps the pork chops from drying out….even if you overcook them.
One of the MAIN REASONS I love to brine my pork chops is because when I worked outside the home out there in the corporate world I could throw everything into a resealable bag the night before and have something amazing to cook when I got home. Almost always fool-proof….I say almost because sometimes life throws a curveball and….well, nothing is fool-proof really. Things happen, that’s why there’s take out. But these Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops with Apples and Bacon are almost always perfect and they’re made in one skillet. It’s like a flavor bomb in a pan!
To make the Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops with Apples and Bacon a complete meal, I like to serve them with a side of roasted potatoes and something green….like these green beans or a bit of asparagus. Totally easy and any leftovers (if you’re lucky!) are fabulous the next day for your “not sad desk lunch”!
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground sage
- 1 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 4 bone-in pork loin chops
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
- 2 Fuji apples cored and sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- In a large bowl, whisk together the apple cider, sugar, salt, sage and peppercorns to combine.
- Add the pork chops to the bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and brine for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Remove the pork chops from the bowl and discard the brine.
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until crispy.
- Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Add the pork chops to the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Flip the pork chops over and continue cooking on the other side for another 5 minutes or until the desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add the onions to the pan and cook until softened, approximately 2-3 minutes. Stir in the apples and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until soft and beginning to break down.
- Stir the sage into the apples and return the pork to the pan. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to warm the pork chops. Crumble the reserved bacon and sprinkle over the pork.
- Serve immediately with the onions and apples.
Brine can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Do not brine the pork chops for more than 24 hours.