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Resolution: Make One Dish Perfectly

The closest a lot of guys get to cooking is reheating leftovers in the microwave. If you’re one of those culinarily-challenged gentlemen, this is the year to turn over a new leaf. We asked a couple of the pros to help us out.

Brothers Eli and Max Sussman are no strangers to time in the kitchen. The stylish siblings are two of the most highly regarded young chefs in New York City (Eli is a line cook at the Brooklyn-based Mile End Delicatessen, while Max mans the kitchen at pizza Roberta’s). Recently, the two co-authored This is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life. Says Eli, “We want to help people cook delicious food and expand their love of food by trying out new flavors and learning new techniques.” The Sussman’s pick for a ridiculously simple knockout dinner party dish? Pork Chops with Apple Chutney. This recipe “completely blows up any lingering idea of a pork chop as a flavorless hunk of chewy meat.” Here’s how it’s done.

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney (serves 6-8)

Apple Chutney
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 white onions, chopped
3 apples, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

  1. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized to a deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  2. Put the apples in a saucepan and add ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water. Simmer over low heat until very tender, about 30 minutes. Mash the apples, but leave some nice chunky texture.

  3. Add the onions, brown sugar, ginger, allspice, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt to the pan with the apples and stir to mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Brine
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup salt
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
Ice cubes

The Chops
3 bone-in, double-cut pork chops, about 4 lb total weight
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsbp unsalted butter
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme spring
1 garlic clove, crushed

  1. To make the brine, in a large saucepan, bring 2 qt. (2 l) water to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Stir in the herb sprigs, peppercorns, and coriander seeds and remove from the heat. Add about 2 qt. (4 lb/2 kg) ice and stir to melt. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours.

  2. Add the pork chops to the brine and weight down with plates or heavy canned goods. Let brine in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove the chops and pat dry with paper towels. Let come to room temperature for at least 1 hour before cooking (this will help the chops cook evenly throughout).

  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sear the chops until they are nicely browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Add the butter to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the butter melt. Using a large spoon, baste the chop with butter constantly for about 5 minutes, tilting the pan as needed, and using tongs to flip the chops about every 2 minutes. Add the herb sprigs and garlic clove during the last 2 or 3 minutes of cooking to infuse the pan juices with their flavors. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each chop away from bone registers 125° F (52° C). Transfer the chops to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

  4. To serve, carve the meat off the bone into thick slices. Arrange the slices on dinner plates. Stir any juices left on the platter into the pan sauce and drizzle over the top. Spoon some chutney on top or alongside and serve right away.

Photo: Alex Farnum

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