Brined and Braised Pork Chops or Chicken

I often make up a full recipe of my all-purpose Brine and divide it into smaller batches for the freezer. This recipe uses a scaled down quantity of that brine, good for 2 to 4 bone in pork chops or up to 6 boneless chicken breasts.

For the brine:
1 cup very hot water
1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1 1/2 cups very cold water
For the recipe:
2 3/4 inch thick center cut, bone in, pork chops
OR
2 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 tsp olive or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp butter
For the pan sauce:
1 Tbsp fat from skillet
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Early in the day, prepare the brine: In a large bowl or pan, combine the hot water, salt, sugar, and spices. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved, then add the cold water and let cool.
2. Add the pork chops or chicken to the cooled brine and refrigerate several hours.
3. Thirty minutes before cooking remove the meat from the brine, discarding the brine, and wash the brine and spices off the meat very well.
4. With paper towels, pat the meat dry. Allow the pork chops or chicken to rest on a wire rack to air dry and come to room temperature before cooking, about 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°.
6. In a heavy, oven proof skillet, over medium high heat, melt together the oil and butter.
7. Sear the meat until nicely browned on both sides. Reduce the heat to medium low and transfer the meat to a plate.
8. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the pan, leaving any browned bits and meat juices in the pan.
9. Add the shallot and cook until softened. Stir in the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits. Return the meat to the pan.
10. Transfer the skillet to the pre-heated oven and bake until the meat is thoroughly cooked.
11. Again, transfer the meat to a plate and cover to keep warm.
12. Over medium high heat, bring the pan juices in the skillet to a boil, allow to reduce slightly, then turn off the heat.
13. Off the heat, whisk in the cold butter and lemon juice.
14. To serve, drizzle the pan sauce over the pork chops or chicken.

Servings: 2

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