Pork Chops in Mulled Cider Brine with Onion Gravy

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 3:00 AM, January 18, 2013

Aired January 18, 2013

Serves 6
For the brine:
2 quarts cider plus 1/2 cup for gravy
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 star anise
1 strip orange rind studded with 2 or 3 cloves
1 small onion, quartered
5 to 6 peppercorns
5 to 6 juniper berries, optional
8 to 10 cups ice, optional
6 to 8 large, bone-in pork chops
Flour for dredging plus 4 tablespoons
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
6 medium onions, sliced
1 large bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup brandy, Calvados or dry sherry, optional
1 quart chicken stock

Add brine ingredients to a stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt, and remove from heat to cool completely. To quickly cool, add ice to hot brine.

Brine chops overnight in the fridge then remove from brine and pat dry. Coat chops in flour. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown chops in batches over medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Melt butter into pork chop drippings and add onions, bay, salt and pepper. Cook to tender, 12-15 minutes, sprinkle in 4 tablespoons flour and stir a minute more. Deglaze pan with brandy or sherry if using, then slowly stir in 1/2 cup cider then chicken stock. Stir to combine. Slide chops back into sauce and cover, roast 1 1/2 to 2 hours until very tender.

Serve with potato pancakes, mashed potatoes or creamy polenta alongside.