I have mentioned my beef more than once now, but beef is not the only meat that inhabits my freezer. Last winter, the same coworker that splits cows with me asked if I had any interest in splitting a pig. Um, yes! A couple months later, I had pounds of pasture raised, acorn and whey fed gourmet, heritage breed pork courtesy of Abundant Life Farm in Dallas Oregon. And it is honestly the tastiest pork I have ever eaten.
Much of the pig was cut into thick pork chops. I love pork chops, but I do not love having to defrost four at a time. I am usually cooking for just me, and even if I eat a pork chop a night for four consecutive nights, the meat is not going to be in prime form by the fourth night. My solution? Brine it all. Meat is usually brined for 24 - 48 hours (or more in some cases), so I can throw it all in the fridge without fear of it getting funky.
The honey brine recipe is from Martha Stewart, my hero. When I was thinking about starting a food blog, my best friend (Style by Santina) was all about making it a Julie/Julia-style blog and having me cook my way through my two enormous Martha Stewart cookbooks. I considered the idea, but in the end I thought it would be best to give myself some leeway. And Martha often uses strange and expensive ingredients. I can't afford such an endeavour. Her honey brine recipe (with no strange or expensive items in it) is from Martha Stewart Living, June 2009. Last summer I used the recipe for the first time to brine a cut up whole chicken then barbecued the bird. I fell in love.
The Corsican brined pork chop recipe is from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Many Christmases ago, my first post-college boyfriend bought me a Le Creuset dutch oven. Possibly the best present ever as I use it weekly at a minimum. My dad went with him to pick up the gift at Sur la Table, and while there, bought me the aforementioned cookbook. Apparently one of the employees at Sur la Table told him it was a "must have" for slow cooking and would be an excellent accompaniment to the dutch oven. Now, the former claim may be true, but few recipes in the book call for a dutch oven. None the less, I love the cookbook.
I will post the results of these two brines soon, and I will give the recipes in those posts. You'll just have to stare at the raw meat above, mouths watering, until then.