Gluten Free Brined Pork Chops with Spicy Pear Chutney Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on August 26, 2010

As a kid, one of my favorite dinners was pork chops and applesauce.  Now that I am all grown up, I realize how so 1970’s Brady Bunch that dinner is.

It is a new decade in a new millennium and definitely time for a makeover!

Applesauce was fine when I was 8.  Now I find the sweet, one-note flavor, bland color and baby food texture just plain boring!  These days I want texture, color and complexity of flavors; a little sweet, a little spicy and a little tangy.

Spicy Pear Chutney is just the answer!  Green Anjou pears are in season now and I figured their crisp, juicy sweetness would be a perfect compliment to pork chops.  Boy was I right!  In about 15 minutes with some fresh, ripe pears, a few pantry items and a handful of dried cranberries I whipped up a side dish to make any ordinary pork chop company worthy.

This is a must try recipe!  It not only goes great with pork chops but also makes an amazing topping for pulled pork, baked chicken breasts and would even make a welcomed change as an accompaniment for your Holiday Turkey!

Now let’s talk pork chops. When I was a kid, they actually tasted good. But about 25 years ago, the pork industry answered the demand for leaner meat. They bred pigs to have less fat and as we all know, less fat means less flavor and drier meat. So in order to pump up the flavor and juiciness of cheap supermarket pork chops, brining is the answer! Brining is soaking meat in a salty water solution with some flavoring added.

Why it works:

Remember in 5th grade science class we learned about osmosis?  No, not smarter than a fifth grader?  That’s ok.  Simply put, water flows out of things that are less concentrated into things more highly concentrated. Brines have a higher concentration of salt than the water in the pork chop cells so the water flows out, the salt from the brining solution flows into the meat making the meat cells more concentrated so they draw the moisture back in.  You can read more about that here if you like but the bottom line is that brining makes tough, flavorless meat moist, tender and appetizing .

For my brine I used classic pork flavors; onion and sage. You can change up the flavor anyway you like with different herbs, spices and vegetables but keep in the basics of water, salt, sugar and vinegar.  They all play their part in the brining process.  The sugar will keep the pork chops from tasting too salty and the vinegar tenderizes the meat.

I bought 4 pork chops on sale for about $5.00, brined and grilled them, added my Spicy Pear Chutney and some steamed green beans and prepared a delicious dinner for 4 for under $10.00!  And aside from the brining time the whole meal was ready in about half an hour. How’s that for a new cooking show – Thirty Minute Gluten Free Meals for Under $10.00.  (Ok, the title needs work.)

Spicy Pear Chutney

Brined Pork Chops

 

Gluten Free Brined Pork Chops with Spicy Pear Chutney Recipe

Ingredients

Spicy Pear Chutney

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium sized red onion, minced
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
3 fresh pears, chopped

Brined Pork Chops

4 cups water, use divided
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 pork chops about ¾ inch thick
½ white onion, sliced
2 or 3 springs of fresh sage
Olive oil for brushing the pork chops

Directions

Spicy Pear Chutney

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and minced red onion. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the dried cranberries and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and pears. Combine well. Simmer on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the pears and cranberries have softened but the pears still retain their shape. If the mixture is too liquid, turn the heat up and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm.

Brined Pork Chops

Combine 1 cup water with the salt, brown sugar and pepper in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 3 cups of cold water and let the mixture cool. Stir in the apple cider vinegar. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish or large freezer weight plastic storage bag. Add the pork chops, onions and sage. Refrigerate for 1 – 12 hours. Even a little bit of brining is better than none.

Take pork chops out of the fridge and rinse them well with cold water the pat dry with paper towels. Let set for about 5 minutes before cooking.

Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Brush the pork chops with olive oil and cook for 4 minutes per side (more or less depending on the thickness of the pork chops). Remove from pan, brush the top with a little more olive oil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Servings

Makes 4 gluten free pork chops and 2 cups of Spicy Pear Chutney

Ready for dessert?

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Need a quick meal?

Gluten Free Recipes - Simply Gluten Free Quick MealsSimply…Gluten-Free Quick Meals is now available, with over 100 recipes not featured in my blog.

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Categories:    Main Dishes

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul August 26, 2010 at 6:30 am

I've always been curious about brining…you make it look so easy that I have to try this. Love the pear chutney too Carol!

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The Celiac Husband August 26, 2010 at 6:51 am

BRILLIANT!
Of course I did NOT pay attention to Chemistry in school. I wanted to get into sales….

The only challenge I see for me is your math…..10.00 dinner for 4?

I'd eat those great tasting chops by myself….so it's a 10.00 dinner for one.

Reply

Sandy August 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Fabulous, I've have heard about brining but never tried, thought it was too complicated. You make it sound so easy! Love the chutney idea, I'm making this this weekend :)

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GF Gidget August 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Drooling like you wouldn't believe!

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The InTolerant Chef August 27, 2010 at 4:45 am

I've never had vinegar in my brining solution before, just salt,water and flavours. Is there any particular reason for it or is it for flavour too?

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Tasty Eats At Home August 31, 2010 at 6:07 am

Love the chutney. Looks gorgeous, and a perfect step towards fall flavors. Yum.

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Aubree Cherie August 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

This chutney is another "WOW", Carol! I would love to try it, so I've added it to my favorite recipes from last week post. Thanks!

~Aubree Cherie

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nouveau maillot Lyon August 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Hola! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

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Carol Kicinski August 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Hi,
Well here’s my shout back from Dunedin, FL! Thanks!
xo,
Carol

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