Brined Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Glaze

It’s grilling season and I have been so intrigued by cooking different meats up this summer.  It probably is not very evident because I’ve spent a lot of time baking as well (why I’m doing that in this heat is beyond me, but it’s part of what I’ve been doing).  Nevertheless, this recipe from Smoke and Pickles uses gin in the brine and that was enough to make me decide to cook it.  So, I grabbed some pork chops and peaches the minute they were in season and put this together.  Note that I couldn’t find the pistachios I could have sworn I had on-hand and so I didn’t make the gremolata that went with the recipe.

Brined Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Glaze.jpg

Brined Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Glaze

Brine
1 c gin
2 c water
1/4 c kosher salt
3 Tbsp sorghum
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Four 1-inch-thick pork loin chops

Glaze
3 peaches
1/4 c dry white wine
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp honey
Pinch of salt, pinch of black pepper

Pistachio Gremolata

1 c pistachios
1/4 c dried bread crumbs
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

To make the brine: Bring the gin to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir over low heat just to dissolve the brown sugar.  Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place the pork chops in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and pour the cooled brine into the bag.  Close the bag and brine the pork chops in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.

To make the glaze: Peel the peaches, cut each peach in half and remove the pit.  Cube the flesh and transfer to a small saucepan.  Add the wine, ginger, honey, and salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the peaches are very soft.  Let cool about 15 minutes.

Transfer the peaches and liquid to a blender and puree on high until smooth.  The smell of the sweet peaches and ginger should fill the room.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the gremolata: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 10 times to a rough paste; you can also grind them in a mortar with the pestle.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the pork chops from the brine (discard the brine) and pat dry with paper towels.  Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the pork chops and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until browned and nicely caramelized.

Brush a dollop of the peach glaze over each pork chop.  Sprinkle a generous even layer of the gremolata over the glaze.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the pork is cooked to medium-rare.  The juices should run clear when a chop is pierced with a knife close to the bone.  The glaze will be set and the gremolata should look just a shade brown and crunchy on top.  Let the cooked chops rest in the pan for 5 minutes.

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