Tag Archives: pork

Molasses-Brined Pork Chops

Hark!  What is this you’re reading!?  A new entry on VVG?

Believe it.  Today, I bring you pork.

I don’t have any really good excuses* for not posting for the past couple of months, except that I just don’t enjoy cooking or baking in my Barbie-sized kitchen during the summer.  But now that fall is here, or at least according to the calendar, I’m back in the kitchen a bit more.  Plus, my neighbor convinced me to do the October Unprocessed food challenge so clearly, I need to be in my kitchen pretty regularly now.
*I did have food poisoning back in August but I didn’t think you’d need to read my interpretation of cinnamon toast for a week.

So, what is this October Unprocessed food challenge, anyway?  Does it involve maple syrup?  In answer to the first question, basically, if it’s something that you could theoretically make in your own kitchen, it’s fair game for food consumption.  If food requires some sort of chemical process to come about (ie. sugar or corn syrup) it’s out.  Therefore, the answer to the second question is a resounding YES!  Maple syrup is in.  I can proceed!

Although recipe does not feature maple syrup, I assure you that these pork chops are still good.  They will definitely warm you on a cool fall day.  I thought they were a little too salty so I would reduce the salt in the brine next time, but I know Grandma would approve of this recipe just as it’s printed below.

Molasses-Brined Pork Chops (From November, 2003 Cooking Light)

3 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 c. ice cubes
4 pork chops

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamon
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced

For cooking
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. olive oil

Step 1:  Prepare the brine.  Dissolve salt in water.  Stir in honey and molasses.  Stir in ice.  Add pork chops, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2:  Remove chops from brine and pat dry.  Discard the brine.

Step 3:  Combine rub ingredients and rub over both sides of chops.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 4:  Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chops in the flour.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chops and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Molasses-Brined Pork Chops


MMM Day 15: Bacon Wrapped Maple Pork Loin

Today I attended the 25th Annual Sugarbush Pancake Brunch at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  The pancakes were delicious (though not as fluffy as Dad’s) and the sausages, dipped in a little maple syrup, were divine.

Devouring pancakes this morning at the Arboretum was a good way to start the day, if only to stop me from getting the shakes.  In case you haven’t noticed, we’re on day 15 of March Maple Madness and all these maple recipes don’t just make and eat themselves.  This is a lot of work people!  And at the end of this, I might just need an IV drip of maple syrup to keep me going.  Thankfully, though, I do have great friends who are helping me out with this challenge so I don’t have to suffer too much.  Last night we enjoyed a simply wonderful bacon wrapped pork loin.  The key to this recipe is, you guessed it, maple syrup AND a nifty digital meat thermometer (which, incidentally, I bought in December to make maple cream candy.  Maple brings many good things into my life, in addition to the sugar shakes).

This recipe is a bit time consuming, though commenters on Epicurious say that they skip the brining part, so do as you like!

Bacon-Wrapped Maple Pork Loin (from Epicurious)
For the brine:
8 cups water
1/4 c. salt
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. dried herbs de Provence
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 (4- to 4 1/2-lb) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed

For roasting pork

3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 pound bacon, sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Step 1:  Prepare the brine
Put all ingredients except pork loin in a large stock pot and stir over high heat until salt is dissolved.  Transfer hot liquid into a 4 qt. bowl or pot and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours (I let mine cool for about 20 minutes, but then made an ice bath in the sink to help the cooling process along.  It took about an hour, total).  Add the pork loin to the room temperature brine.  Cover and refrigerate for about 8 – 16 hours, or in my case, as long as it takes to buy a new car – about 5 to 6 hours.

Step 2: Roast the pork.
Preheat oven to 350º.  Take the pork out of the refrigerator.  Discard brine and rinse pork and pat dry.  Place pork in a roasting pan.  Then, mix garlic, herbs de Provence and 1 Tbsp. of maple syrup together in a small bowl.  Rub mixture all over pork loin.  Then, place bacon strips crosswise over the pork, tucking ends underneath.

Roast pork until nifty meat thermometer reads 140º, about 1 – 1 1/4 hours.  While pork is roasting, mix 1 Tbsp maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together.  When pork reaches 140º, brush maple syrup mixture over bacon slices.  Place back in oven and continue roasting until thermometer reads 150º.

Remove pork from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes.  Slice and spoon juices from roasting over pork.  VVG!

Bacon-Wrapped Maple Pork Loin