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Recipe

Beer-Brined Pork Chops with Wild Mushroom Stuffing

photo: Scott Phillips

Servings: 2

Stuffed, seared, and baked, these chops are infused with the flavors of the filling while the juices from the chops seep into the stuffing to make a heavenly marriage of the two.

Ingredients

  • 2 double rib pork chops (about 3 lb. total), trimmed and frenched
  • 2 12-oz. bottles German beer, such as Oktoberfest; more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. crushed juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. sliced mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake, cremini, and maitake (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup drained sauerkraut
  • 1 small apple, such as Gala or Honey Crisp, peeled and cut into small dice, (about 1/2 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Emmentaler
  • 1-1/2 cups seeded rye bread, lightly toasted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp. spicy brown mustard, such as Kosciusko

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 840
      Fat Calories (kcal): 530
      Fat (g): 59
      Saturated Fat (g): 21
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 29
      Cholesterol (mg): 160
      Sodium (mg): 760
      Carbohydrates (g): 25
      Fiber (g): 3
      Sugar (g): 5
      Protein (g): 49

Preparation

  • Cut a 5- to 6-inch horizontal slit in the center of the side of each double chop, and wiggle your knife up and down inside the cut to form a generous pocket.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of beer. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining beer with 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup salt, the brown sugar, vinegar, juniper berries, and peppercorns, stirring gently until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the brine to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add the chops, and expel as much air as possible as you seal the bag. Refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil and 3 Tbs. of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring once or twice, until they begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the mushrooms to a small bowl. Transfer the remaining mushrooms to a medium bowl and combine with the sauerkraut, apple, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then toss with the cheese and bread.
  • Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry. Pack the stuffing, evenly dividing it into the two chops and pressing it firmly into the cavity as you go. Thread two or three toothpicks through each side of the opening to seal. Season both sides of each chop generously with salt and pepper.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375°F.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the chops, in batches if necessary, while spooning oil from the pan over the bone to baste until each side is deep golden brown. Then, using a pair of tongs, lift the chops to sear the sides, about 5 minutes total. Place the chops in a roasting pan, transfer to the oven, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted near but not touching the bone registers 135°F, 15 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks, and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, set the roasting pan over two burners on low heat, and add the remaining 3 Tbs. of butter. As the butter melts, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the flour into the pan. Whisking constantly, add the remaining 1/2 cup of beer and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the chicken stock into the pan while whisking vigorously. As soon as it thickens, whisk in another 1/2 cup of stock. Whisk in the remaining stock, add the reserved mushrooms, bring the gravy to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, the dill, and mustard, and serve with the stuffed chops.

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