Verjus-Brined Pork Chops with Marinated Leeks

Lummi Island, Verjus-Brined Pork Chops with Marinated Leeks

Verjus-Brined Pork Chops with Marinated Leeks

These verjus-brined pork chops are accompanied by charred leeks, which are drizzled with vinaigrette and wrapped in foil before they hit the grates.Charity Burggraaf

Verjus, the unfermented juice of pressed unripe grapes, lends a subtle, sweet-tart bite to these chops. A slightly sweeter vinegar like rice vinegar is a fine substitute. Cooking note: Please allow at least 12 hours for marinating.

Verjus-Brined Pork Chops with Marinated Leeks
Verjus, the unfermented juice of pressed unripe grapes, lends a subtle, sweet-tart bite to smoky grilled double-cut pork chops.
Yield: serves 4
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 12 cup whole juniper berries
  • 2 cups verjus
  • 12 cup plus 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 sprigs marjoram
  • 4 (1 1/2-inch thick) double-cut pork chops (1 1/4 lb.)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 12 cup champagne vinegar
  • 12 baby leeks or scallions, cleaned and trimmed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Toast juniper berries in a small skillet over medium-high, swirling, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend with verjus, 12 cup salt, the sugar, parsley, marjoram, and 12 cup water until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and add pork chops. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, marinate the leeks: Stir remaining 2 tbsp. salt, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl until emulsified. Add leeks, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 2 hours.
  3. Drain pork chops and set aside for 30 minutes to come to room temperature; reserve the marinade. Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium.) Grill the pork chops, turning and basting every 5 minutes with reserved marinade, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 140°, 40–45 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, remove leeks from vinaigrette and arrange on a sheet of foil. Pour 2 tbsp. vinaigrette over leeks, and then fold and close foil into a packet; reserve remaining vinaigrette. Place packet on grill and cook until leeks are soft and caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Open packet and transfer leeks to a serving platter; discard foil. Drizzle leeks with some of the remaining vinaigrette and season with pepper. Slice pork chops and serve with the grilled leeks.