Sunday, May 6, 2012

Juicy Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce

Typically when you say "pork chop", I say "not interested." The majority of pork chops, at least that I've encountered, have been dry and tough (sorry, mom).

That was before I was introduced to using a brine. A brine, if it's new to you (like it was to me), is a heavily salted water that you soak meat in before cooking. It helps to break down the muscle fibers and keep the meat juicy...really juicy.

These pork chops are served with an agrodolce sauce. Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sauce that has sweet and sour elements. In this case - honey and balsamic vinegar. Oh yeah, it's incredible.

We paired it with mashed sweet potatoes. Perfection. And the guys really loved the flavor and crunch of the green onions on top. If you avoid pork chops like the plague, as I once did, you have to give the recipe a shot. You just might change your mind.

It all starts with some kosher salt and a little molasses in a pot full of water.

Add some fresh rosemary and little black peppercorns. 

Now let your pork chops get busy in the brine overnight in the fridge.

Start your agrodolce sauce well before you start searing the chops. Once you remove the sauce from the heat to thicken, begin searing your chops. Sear on each side, then finish in the oven until the pork chops reach 160°. 

Smother the chops in sweet and sour sauce, over a bed of delicious mashed sweet potatoes. Top with green onions, if you're a fan, for added flavor.

Brined Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce

Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

For the brine:
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 boneless pork chops, 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick
For the sauce and chops:
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, for garnish

Create brine:
Add water to a large non-metal bowl or enameled dutch oven. Add salt and molasses and whisk. Remove rosemary leaves from their stems. Add rosemary and peppercorns. Place pork chops in brine and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or as long as possible up to 24 hours).

Make pork chops and sauce:
Preheat oven to 425°. In a small saucepan, stir together balsamic, honey, green onions, and garlic over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly (to prevent boil over) and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside to thicken.

Remove pork chops from brine and season liberally with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Sear pork chops for 3 minutes on each side. Then move cast-iron skillet to the oven until the middle of the pork chops reach 160°.

Serve over mashed sweet potatoes (recipe below) topped with Agrodolce sauce and chopped green onions. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes (or yams)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel and quarter sweet potatoes and add to boiling water. Cook until fork tender. Drain water. Add in butter, maple, milk, salt, and pepper and mash all together and serve.

I'm sharing these pork chops over at Not Just a Housewife, My Girlish Whims, Crafty Scrappy Happy, A Glimpse Inside, House of Hepworths, 52 Mantels, 36th Avenue, 5 Days 5 Ways, It's A Piece O' Cake, Crumbs and Chaos.

Thanks Melissa, at Loving this Crazy Life, for featuring these pork chops! 


  1. This recipe looks sooooo yummy! I'm pinning the recipe as soon as I'm done writing this comment!

    Found you over at The 36th Avenue and would love for you to link it up to my party as well!

    Hope you have a great weekend

    1. I hope you try it Melissa, it's so delicious! I'll head over to your linky party right now! :)

    2. You were featured at my party today! I'll be trying this ASAP!

      Hope you're having a great week!

      XO, Melissa

    3. Thanks Melissa! I'm glad you stopped by because I now love your blog and all of the great ideas you share! :)

  2. Your opening statement got me--I'm not a pork chop fan either, but this recipe seems simple enough. Thanks for linking up.

  3. nice posting. thanks for sharing


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