Brining is an easy technique that yields succulent, flavoursome meat. A brine can be as simple as salt, sugar and water, or it can be a medium for adding other flavours to meat with the addition of spices and herbs or through the use of other liquids. This brine has quite a weak concentration so the pork can be safely left for up to 24 hours.
4 x 3 cm thick pork loin chops, skin removed (we use Freedom Farms)
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter
2 cups apple juice
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Maldon sea salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon juniper berries, lightly crushed
4 cups cold water
800 grams Agria potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
large knob of butter
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Brine: Combine 1 cup of the apple juice with the sugar, salt, fennel seeds and juniper berries in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the salt has dissolved. Cool.
Combine the cooled brine with the remaining apple juice and the water. Put the pork chops in a plastic, glass or stainless steel container large enough to hold them comfortably and pour over the brine. Put a plate on top to keep them submerged if necessary. The chops should be completely covered with the brine. Add more water if necessary.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the pork from the brine 1 hour before cooking.
Mash: Melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the leeks and garlic with a good pinch of salt and cook, covered, until soft. Stir in the cream, mustard and parsley.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well. Tip them back into the saucepan and place back over the heat to drive off any excess moisture. Mash the potatoes roughly with a fork then add the hot leek mixture, season and gently combine. Cover and keep hot.
Pork: Pat the pork chops dry with kitchen towels. Dust the chops in seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan and cook the pork over a medium-low heat on both sides until golden and just cooked through, about 8-10 minutes depending on their thickness. Stand the chops upright in the pan to brown and cook the fat around the edges. The sugar in the brine will catch and burn if the heat is too high.
To serve: Place the mash in a serving bowl and arrange the pork chops on a platter.