Chai-Brined Pork Chops With Apple Chutney Recipe

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Who's everyone's favorite Next Food Network Star? Aarti, of course! And best of all: she's actually awesome. Make her delicious everyday recipes from her new cookbook, Aarti Paarti, streaked with Indian and Middle Eastern influence, and enjoy her stories while you're at it. Indian spiced pork chops? You bet.

Say the word "pork" to a Mangalorean Catholic and you might just see their mouth begin to water, and perhaps a tear come to their eye. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but only to stress how beloved this meat is to our community! It's always served on special occasions, from weddings to Christmas Day. We considered ourselves quite lucky to grow up in Dubai, where despite living under Muslim law, which designates pork as unclean, it was still allowed to be sold to non-Muslims. Other countries in the Middle East weren't so lenient! If you're not a pork-eater, don't skip this brine. It's wonderful on bone-in chicken and turkey!

Reprinted with permission from Aarti Paarti

Chai-Brined Pork Chops With Apple Chutney Recipe
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  • 6 cups cool water
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick or cassia bark
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 12 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 center-cut bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted yellow butter
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • kosher salt
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup whiskey or rum
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  1. Bring 3 cups of the water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, coarsely grind the cardamom, fennel and cinnamon in a spice grinder.
  3. When the water has come to a boil, turn off the heat, sprinkle in the spice mixture and add the ginger coins and the tea bags.
  4. Let the whole lot steep for about 10 minutes.
  5. Then pluck out the tea bags, but leave the spices and ginger in the tea.
  6. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the tea, then pour the mixture into a very large nonreactive bowl.
  7. Stir in the ice cubes until the brine is quite cold.
  8. Stir in the remaining 3 cups cool water, then nestle the pork chops in the brine; top with a plate to keep them submerged, if necessary.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or up to overnight.
  10. Heat ghee in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  11. Add the fennel seeds and the onion, along with a pinch of salt.
  12. Stir, then cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion has softened and turned translucent.
  13. Uncover and sauté until the onion is golden brown around the edges, about 5 minutes more.
  14. Add the apples, garam masala, whiskey, ginger, sugar and vinegar. Stir together, carefully, so as not to break up the apples.
  15. Cook until the sugar has melted, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed or reduced.
  16. Set aside.
  17. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  18. Pull the pork chops out of the brine and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels.
  19. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of ghee over medium-high heat.
  20. When shimmering, carefully lay the pork chops in the pan and cook until a pretty chestnut brown crust forms on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
  21. Flip, cook for another minute to get that crust going, and then slide the pan into the oven.
  22. Cook the chops for about 8 minutes or until the center registers 135°F to 140°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  23. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside on a warm platter, tented loosely with foil, to rest for 5 minutes more.
  24. Serve immediately with the warm whiskey chutney.
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