Cider-Brined Pork Chops With Creamed Leeks and Apples 4.000
Sep 20, 2006

Overnight brining gives the pork a distinctive tang that works beautifully with the leeks and fruit. For some, the high cream quotient will put this in the category of a special dinner-party dish; in fact, it's a perfect meal for guests because most of it can be prepared ahead and the presentation on the plate is impressive. You can substitute chicken broth for half of the cream.

Servings: 4
  • For the pork
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 (40 ounces) center-cut pork rib chops, bone in
  • Olive oil
  • For the leeks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 large leeks (white and pale green parts), thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the apples
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved and cored, each half cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup apple brandy, such as Calvados
  • 1/4 cup apple cider


For the pork: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 4 cups of cider with salt, allspice and bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool the brine completely. Place the pork in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and pour brine over. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning pieces once during brining.

For the leeks: In a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the leeks and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Leeks may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For the apples: In a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the apples and cook 10 minutes, turning them occasionally. Add the sugar, stir to combine and cook until the apples are golden, about 6 minutes longer. Add the broth, the brandy and 1/4 cup of cider. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When ready to cook, prepare the grill or preheat broiler. If using a gas grill, heat it to medium. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat. Oil the grate.

Drain the pork chops, rinse well under cold water and pat dry, discarding the brine. Brush the chops on both sides with olive oil. Grill or broil to the desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium.

Meanwhile, reheat the leeks until just warmed through, thinning with a little water if necessary. Reheat the apples until their liquid just begins to bubble. To serve, spoon the leeks onto individual plates. Top with 1 chop per plate and then the apples, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Bon Appetit Cookbook," by Barbara Fairchild (Wiley & Sons, 2006).

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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