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Cider-Brined Pork Chops with Walnut-Bacon Butter and Apple and Butternut Squash Tian

Yield 6 servings
Brining yields wonderfully moist chops. Tian, a French word that refers to shallow earthen casserole dishes, also refers to the layered vegetables that are often cooked in them. When you layer the vegetables for the tian, they should lie in flat, even layers. If you want to make the butter mixture ahead, shape it into a three-inch cylinder and wrap it in wax paper. Refrigerate or freeze it until you're ready to use it. Make extra butter, and use it to flavor rice or pasta.


  • Pork:
  • 5 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 6 (8-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed
  • Tian:
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large Rome apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 6 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • Butter:
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 slice applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and finely crumbled
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 369
  • caloriesfromfat 35 %
  • fat 14.5 g
  • satfat 5.9 g
  • monofat 5.2 g
  • polyfat 2 g
  • protein 28.1 g
  • carbohydrate 32.8 g
  • fiber 3.2 g
  • cholesterol 77 mg
  • iron 2.1 mg
  • sodium 840 mg
  • calcium 120 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare pork, combine 5 cups apple cider, 2 cups water, and 1/3 cup kosher salt in a large bowl; stir until salt dissolves. Add pork chops to cider mixture; cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°.

  3. To prepare the tian, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chard, jalapeño, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until chard wilts, stirring occasionally. Layer half of squash, apple, potatoes, and chard mixture in a shallow 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle vegetables with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Repeat the layers with remaining squash, apple, potato, chard mixture, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Combine 1/2 cup cider and broth; pour mixture into baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake at 425° for 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  4. Preheat broiler.

  5. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese; sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Broil 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned. Remove from broiler, and keep warm.

  6. To prepare butter, combine walnuts and next 5 ingredients (through bacon) in a bowl, stirring well.

  7. Remove pork from brine mixture; discard brine mixture. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until a thermometer registers 155° or until desired degree of doneness. Place about 1 cup tian on each of 6 plates; top each serving with 1 pork chop. Divide butter mixture evenly among pork chops.