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Grilled pork chops with roasted butternut squash and sage couscous.

September 19, 2009

I had not used brine in awhile so I thought I would give it another try. Wow! I forgot how well it works! I dissolved ¼ C of kosher salt and ¼ C of brown sugar in a cup of boiling water. I then added three more cups of water and let it cool. I added the pork chops and let them soak for two hours. The salt literaly acts as a carrier of water into the cells of the meat. I rinsed the chops off and patted them dry. I seasoned them with s&p and put them on a hot grill. Once the chops were nicely marked and golden I turned them over and then turned the grill to low and covered it.

In the meantime I had cubed butternut squash and boiled it to just tender. I then sautéed the cubes in olive oil and butter until golden brown. I added some chopped fresh sage leaves and sautéed for just a minute more to infuse their medicinal perfume into the squash. I tossed in some cooked couscous. I did it this way to keep the chunks of butternut squash crisp and separate vs. cooking it into the couscous.

I needed a touch of sauce? I had let the pork chops sit covered for the standard ten minutes to re-absorb their juices. There was of course some juice still on the plate. I reduced that down with some aged balsamic vinegar and glazed it over half of the pork chop and into the couscous.

The pork was super tender and juicy!  The butternut squash was sweet and golden and married perfectly with the tender, grainy couscous. The balsamic added just enough pucker to create that much need sweet/sour balance in any dish.

If you have not tried brine go for it. You will like the result! Enjoy.

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Mz E permalink
    September 20, 2009 11:39 am

    So pleased to find your blog, keep up the great work!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 22, 2009 3:45 pm

      Thank you Mz E!!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 27, 2009 10:20 pm

      Thank you MzE!

  2. Patti permalink
    September 20, 2009 2:53 pm

    Hi Jeffery,

    I have a hard time cooking pork chops. They always seem to dry out. I’ll try the brine next time. Were the pork chops refrigerated while soaking in the brine?

    Thanks,

    Patti

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 22, 2009 3:45 pm

      Hello Patti, No, I left them at room temperature. The “danger zone” food left between 40 and 140 is four hours. As long as they are not out longer than that you should be safe. You could refrigerate but it will take longer to absorb and you will want to make sure to let the chops come to room temperature before grilling to get even cooking. Enjoy 🙂

  3. tam permalink
    September 22, 2009 11:36 am

    Hi Jeffrey! You know what (no- I will tell you), I had the most wonderful thing last week that I found in the frozen section at the store (of all places)!! It was a Pecan Crusted Tilapia with….are you sitting down???

    CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO SAUCE!!!!!!!!!!! Gawwwd it was yummy! I can’t find a recipe anywhere online. 😦 Suggestions? Like just puree some sweet potatoes and add chipotle? LOL

    Sorry to put this in your pork chop entry but you mentioned sauce and I thought it would even be good on pork chops.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 22, 2009 3:42 pm

      sounds good tam! I would probably grind the pecans with some brown sugar in the food processor. Use that to coat the fish. As it sautees it will toast the nuts and caramelize the sugar. For the sauce make very loose sweet mash potatoes (lots of cream or milk) and then puree in chipotles (you can puree the can of chipotles separately and then spoon it in). Hope that helps! Take care, J

      • tam permalink
        September 23, 2009 10:53 am

        Hey, thanks Jeffrey! I will definitely be doin that soon. I will let you know how it turns out. The sauce in the box was just out. stand. ing. !!!

        There’s a farm outside of Santa Rosa that sells some great chipotle sauces as well – Kozlowski farms…check it out! I bet Guy F knows exactly where it is.

        🙂

  4. Patti permalink
    September 23, 2009 3:44 pm

    Hi Again!

    Many thanks Jeffery for letting us know your brine technique! I made the chops tonight and they were wonderful. My sauce was reduced OJ with thinly sliced garlic and a couple of pats of butter. I then added apricot perserves with a few drops of hot sauce and let it heat through. I set some aside for dipping sauce. Grilled the chops and basted with the remaining sauce. Got nice and sticky with beautiful grill marks. The pork chops were moist and tasty. Finally…..sucess!! Can’t wait to try more of your dishes.
    All the best!

    Patti

  5. Patti permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:22 pm

    Hi Again!

    Many thanks Jeffery for letting us know your brine technique! I made the chops tonight and they were wonderful. My sauce was reduced OJ with thinly sliced garlic and a couple of pats of butter. I then added apricot perserves with a few drops of hot sauce and let it heat through. I set some aside for dipping sauce. Grilled the chops and basted with the remaining sauce. Got nice and sticky with beautiful grill marks. The pork chops were moist and tasty. Finally…..sucess!! Can’t wait to try more of your dishes.
    All the best!

    Patti

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 27, 2009 10:15 pm

      Sounds great Patti! Thank you for reading. Have a great week! J 🙂

  6. September 30, 2009 5:50 pm

    There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      October 4, 2009 8:55 am

      Thank you Tnelson. have a great day.

  7. Lynn permalink
    October 12, 2009 12:25 pm

    Hey Jeffrey,

    Saw your recipe for the brined porkchops with balsamic reduction and was wondering: How much balsamic should I use???

    thanks

    Lynn

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      October 14, 2009 12:59 pm

      Hello Lynn, that is a good question. i used an aged, syrupy balsamic so 1/2 C. reduced briefly was just right for a drizzle of high impact pleasure. If you have a less aged, more watery balsamic use a full cup or 1 1/2 cups and reduce it down (boil it) until it has a syrupy consistency. Enjoy!

      • Lynn permalink
        October 27, 2009 1:47 pm

        thanks so much for including both aged vs less aged balsamic…I have a good one that I use but it is definitely less aged…Im going to try it this week to see how it turns out…thanks again:)

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        October 27, 2009 7:03 pm

        Awesome lynn. glad you like it. let me know how it turns out. have a great week! , J

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