The Best Brined Pork Chops with Wild Fennel Pollen Recipe
In the past, I haven’t been a big fan of pork chops only because they are generally dry and lacked any depth of flavor. Then I discovered brining pork chops and now I know what all the buzz is about. Brining is the secret to creating the most juiciest flavorful pork chops you’ll ever eat.
Then, to boost the flavor of these pork chops even more, I roll the fat edge into wild fennel pollen which becomes so fragrant as the pork chops cook. There’s nothing like the intoxicating aroma that will come from your kitchen as these these pork chops are cooking. Getting hungry? I am.
So, what is wild fennel pollen? It’s the tiny golden fennel flowers removed from wild fennel plants as they begin to bloom in the Tuscan countryside. After it dries it’s sifted. Sometimes you find fennel pollen as an ingredient that is mixed in a spice or salt mixture. I buy the pure wild fennel pollen and it can be expensive, but a little goes a long way. If you can’t find it where you live (and it can be hard to find), there is no need to feel “food stranded.” It can be purchased online.
These are insanely good pork chops!
How to Make the Best Brined Pork Chops with Wild Fennel Pollen Recipe ~ from Stranded Foodie
In a large bowl, I measured out all my spices with the salt and sugar.
Next, I prep all the veggies. Onion, carrots, celery, fennel, and garlic. That’s a piece of fennel frond on the bowl with the diced fennel. I add a piece of that into the brine too.
Add the veggies to the spice, salt and sugar mixture. Add the cold water and give the brine a good stir to combine. The salt and sugar will dissolve pretty quickly. See how pretty your brine looks! Wait until you see how moist your pork chops will be.
In go the chops! Make sure they are submerged in the brine, cover the container and place in the refrigerator. I turn the chops once a day while brining.
Here’s what the fat edge of the pork chop looks like all coated with the fennel pollen. Just wait until you smell how fragrant the fennel pollen becomes during cooking.
A cast iron pan really works well here. Just make sure to adjust the heat if the chops begin to char too much.
Place the cast iron pan in preheated 400 degree oven and cook about 20 to 25 minutes (depending on thickness), or until instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees when inserted into middle of thickest part of chop. The best pork chops ever!
The Best Brined Pork Chops with Wild Fennel Pollen Recipe ~ from Stranded Foodie
Ingredients for the brine:
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1/3 of a fennel bulb, diced
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 1/2 quarts cold water
Ingredients for the pork chops:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 bone- in pork rib chops, 2 to 1/2-inch thick (double cut) and frenched
- 1 tablespoon wild fennel pollen
Directions to make the brine:
- In a large plastic container add all of the brine ingredients and stir to combine. it’s that easy! Place the pork chops in the brine and make sure they are submerged in the brine.
- Cover the container and refrigerate for 3 days and 3 nights. I turn the chops once a day while brining. Yep, they really turn out moist when you brine them this long.
- After 3 days remove the chops from the brine, removing any brine ingredients that may sticking to the chops. Discarding the brine.
Directions to make the pork chops:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the fennel pollen on a plate and roll the fat edge of each pork chop into the fennel pollen.
Heat a cast iron pan or grill pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place pork chops in pan making sure they are not touching. Reduce the heat a bit if the chops begin to char. Turn chops after 4 minutes, or until they have a nice golden color. Add additional olive oil as needed if pan becomes too dry. Repeat on second side. Using tongs, carefully turn chops on their side to sear the fennel pollen coated fat edge. I only do this to crisp up the fat edge a little.
Place the cast iron pan in preheated oven and cook about 20 to 25 minutes (depending on thickness, or until instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees when inserted into middle of thickest part of chop.
The pork chops should be about medium to medium well and very juicy.
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