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Brined Calvados Pork Chops

Apples and pork go together like Mike and hot sauce.  It’s a combination that’s always rustic and reminds me of blustery fall days or cold winter nights.  I’ve made pork and apples in a variety of ways–never did I think brandy would be involved.

Bone-in Pork Chops

Rewind to our trip to London over the holidays.  We were out celebrating my parent’s belated 30th anniversary on New Years Eve at an amazing restaurant called Getti (more on that another day).  While sitting at our table my mom glanced over at a dark bottle alongside the bar.  She commented how when she and my dad were visiting France, my dad tried calvados for the first time.  Calvados is an apple brandy; specific to the Normandy region of France.  When my dad joined us, my mom pointed the bottle out and my dad RAVED about it for several minutes–so much so that as soon as we got home he pulled out his souvenir bottle of calvados and poured a small glass for everyone.  I highly recommend it to ring in the new year.


Fast forward to returning to Wisconsin.  I got to thinking…pork…apples…brandy…why not?  Below is my version of succulent brined bone in chops with a luscious and rich calvados cream sauce.  It’s too good not to try.  Trust me.  This one’s for you Dad.

{Brined Calvados Pork Chops}

  • Brine
    • 1 c. apple cider
    • 1 c. hard cider
    • 1/4 c. brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. white sugar
    • 1/2 c. kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp. peppercorns
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Rosemary sprig
    • 1 1/2 c. water
  • Pork
    • 2 bone-in pork chops
Brine Ingredients

Combine all but the water and rosemary in a pot and heat over medium heat until the sugars and salt have dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the rosemary sprig to steep.  Allow to cool completely.  Add the water.


When the brine has completely cooled, place in a food storage bag with the chops.  Refrigerate and brine for at least 12 hours.  Remove chops and discard brine.  Rinse the chops, pat dry, and flatten the meat with a meat mallet to 3/4 in. thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  • Sauce
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • 1 shallot, chopped
    • 1/3 c. calvados
    • 1/3 c. apple cider
    • 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
    • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
    • 1/4 c. half & half
Sauce Ingredients

 In a large saute pan melt the butter and oil over medium high heat.  Add the chops and cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Pork Chops Sautéing

Remove chops and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add the shallots and saute for 30 seconds.

*WARNING– Use caution with alcohol and any open flame if you have a gas range*

Add the calvados and stir to deglaze the pan and bring up the browned bits of pork.  Turn the heat up to high to let the alcohol cook off.  You want the essence of the apple brandy flavor without the sharpness of the alcohol.  Add the cider, rosemary, and mustard.  Stir to combine and bubble away to reduce slightly– 2 or 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the half and half.

Adding the half and half to the calvados pan sauce

Warm the sauce over low heat to allow the flavors to combine.  Plate the pork chops and spoon the sauce over the chops.

Dig in!

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Filed under: Pork


Writer of recipes. Storyteller with a food twist. Sarcasm/humor served on the side.

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