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Cuba Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Slaw

This Little Goat went to Cuba
This Little Goat went to Cuba

yields

4 servings

time

1 hour, 30 minutes

active time

20 minutes

ingredients

2 cups water

1/3 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp This Little Goat went to Cuba, divided

4 bone-in, thick-cut pork chops (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)

4 cloves garlic, smashed 

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks

1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced using a mandoline

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

instructions

Add the water, salt, sugar, 2 tsp Cuba spice and garlic to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the salt and sugar are dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. (To cool faster you can add a few ice cubes to the brine).

Once the brine is completely cool, place the pork chops in a large resealable Ziploc bag and pour over the cooled brine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

Goat Note: The longer the chops sit in the brine the more tender and juicer they will be!

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and 2 tsp Cuba spice. Add in the apples, fennel, celery and dill and mix well to combine. Season to taste with salt and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove pork chops from the brine and pat to dry completely. Let come to room temperature.  Coat each pork chop with olive oil and sprinkle each with 1 tsp Cuba spice and a pinch of salt.

Add a drizzle of cooking oil to a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe sauté pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Once the pan is very hot and the oil begins to shimmer, add in the chops. Sear until each side is deep golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. 

Carefully transfer skillet to the preheated oven and continue cooking until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 6-8 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to rest. Drizzle any remaining juices over the chops and let rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing. Serve warm, alongside apple fennel slaw.

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