They say this season is all about hope. Hope for snow. Hope for Santa to be generous. Hope for world peace. I want all those things, especially snow; last year we tied a sled to the back of Ameen’s truck and took turns swinging each other around in a huge icy parking lot. Nothing like being flung off a plastic sled onto icy asphalt to make you feel like a kid again! But today I got what I hope for just about every dreary winter Seattle day: sunshine.
It was a gorgeously crisp fall (it’s still fall, right?) day. I had planned on making a big batch of stew for the week and curling up with a good book, and although it was cold, it just wasn’t one of those days. It was a fine grillin’ day.
Yessir, grillin’. I threw some pork chops in a simple brine of kosher salt, brown sugar and water (although apple juice/cider would have been a lovely brining liquid), then charred them on the grill until smoky and crusty on the outside, yet moist and juicy on the inside. Although grilling may not seem very seasonally appropriate, I say if you can stand the cold, why not? I even threw on a few chicken pieces for tomorrow night’s dinner to justify lighting up the grill. It also helped that I had a little furry moral support while I braved to cold.
What makes this dish special though is the pomegranate glaze. Nothing more than thick, sweet and sour pomegranate molasses (which you can find in the ethnic section of better supermarkets), it caramelizes onto the meat keeping it sweet and succulent. Served with a simple salad of fresh pomegranate arils, arugula and red onion, this dish makes an average pork chop dinner almost as exciting as snow. Almost.
Pomegranate Glazed Pork Chops
4 pork chops (bone in preferred)
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
4 cups water
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
4 cups arugula
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Brine the pork chops. Trim the chops of any fat/gristly. In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, brown sugar and water until dissolved. Put the pork chops in the mixture and allow to brine for 1 hour. Remove the pork chops and pat dry.
Prep the grill. Heat the grill for at least 5 minutes over high heat. Scrape the grates with a grill brush to remove any debris, then swipe a paper towel wad dipped in vegetable oil along the grates to lubricate it.
Grill the pork chops. Cook on each side for 5 minutes, until charred on the outside and cooked medium. Do not overcook or the meat will be dry. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, brush the chops with the pomegranate molasses liberally on each side. Remove pork to a plate and allow to rest for 5-7 minutes.
Dress the salad. While the pork is resting, gently toss together the arugula, pomegranate arils, red onion or shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Serve the pomegranate salad with the grilled pork chops.