5.06.09: dinner. (8 hour pork chop brine)

Brined Pork Chops with Mashed Plantains and Mojo
Brined Pork Chops with Mashed Plantains and Mojo

Here is my first attempt at the Dominican dish Mangu’.  Essentially, green plantains are treated very similarly to potatoes, just peeled and boiled for 10 minutes, then mashed.  I used my mortar and pestle, but a ricer would have worked also.  I mixed in an ‘onion gravy’, which was little more than one chopped onion sauteed in a fair amount of olive oil and/or butter until soft and yummy.    I had some great manchego to shred for the top, but I forgot to put it on.  Of all the lousy luck, I really think I could have sold this dish to my skeptical wife otherwise.  Oh well, remember for next time.  Also- I got three large green plantains at my Stop and Shop for one dollar.  That’s an entire side for the cost of one onion and an additional dollar.  The mojo is the same one I used in our last TV spot.

I brined and grilled the chops on my electric grill.  Brining pork is really easy and really improves pork; modern hogs have been bred to be extra lean (by pig standards) to make the meat healthier, but it can get dry.  That being said, I’ve finally found a pork chop brine recipe that works reliably for me.  Whenever I use this brine, Elizabeth always cleans her plate, the best proof positive as far as I’m concerned.  The ones I had been using were either for 2 hours or 24, and I wanted one strong enough to act while I was at work but didn’t overdo it.  This one is good for waking up in the morning, mixing and dunking the chops for consumption that night.

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water, one hot and one cold

Mix the salt and sugar in the hot water to dissolve.  Next add the remaining water and vinegar.  Pour into a tall container or study zip-top bag and submerge the chops.  Wait 8-10 hours.  Rinse the chops, dry and prepare normally.  Deliciousness follows.

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