These Fennel and Coriander Brined Pork Chops require a little bit of love, and by love, I mean time. If you want to have the best pork chops you have ever eaten, it is worth the extra love required. When I crave a nice juicy pork chop this is what I make, and I always wonder, “Man, why don’t I make this more often.”
Fennel and pork is a marriage made in heaven (i.e. Italian sausage). Coriander seeds have an earthy and citrus flavor, but not overpowering, which makes them a wonderful complement to the fennel. These two spices give the pork amazing flavor, and the brine makes the chops juicy and tender. Both these spices are used in whole seed form, so it may require a special trip to the store. These pork chops are pan fried, but when the weather is warmer we grill them.
Fennel and Coriander Brined Pork Chops
*I highly recommend these pork chops brine for 48 hours (a minimum overnight).
1/4 cup salt, plus 1 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 quarts cold water
2 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic smashed
4 bone-in pork rib chops, approx 1 inch thick
Salt and Spice Crust(Optional):
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp neutral flavored oil (grapeseed, canola etc.)
In a large container (at least 4 quarts and with a lid), combine all of the ingredients for the brine and stir very well until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 2 days.
An hour before cooking, remove the container from the refrigerator, this helps to take some of the chill off the meat and allows it to cook more evenly.
If you are making the crust, place the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and salt in a mortar and pestle. Crush until all the seeds are evenly broken and cracked. Set aside.
Discard the brine and pat dry the pork chops. Place about 1/4 of the salt and spice mix on a plate. Using tongs, take one pork chop and roll the fat side in the mixture to form a crust. Place the pork chop on a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 pork chops.
Heat a large skillet (preferable cast iron or a grill pan) over medium heat. Once hot, add about 1 tbsp of oil, place two pork chops in the pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side. After both pork chops are cooked on both sides, using tongs, stand the pork chops on the fat side to crisp, about 1-2 minutes. You may need to shift the pork chops slightly to make contact with all of the fat. Remove the pork chops to a plate. Wipe the pan clean. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and repeat the process with the last two pork chops.
Allow to rest a few minutes and then serve!
*If you skip the salt and spice crust, it’s not a deal breaker. These porks chops are equally delicious with out them, it just adds a nice texture.