Brined Pork with Green Mustard and Pickled Apples

An imaginative and whimsical take on the classic combination of pork and apples, carefully smoking the Nutcracker tea creates a nutty, savory palate, enhancing the flavor of the spaetzle and the dish overall.

Featuring the Nutcracker tea in every element of his dish, The Palace Hotel’s Executive Sous Chef Marck Banagan immediately thought of pairing apples, pork and mustard with the holiday tea.

Notes from Marck Banagan, Executive Sous Chef at The Palace Hotel San Francisco:

“ I wanted to let the tea ‘sing’ on its own, and use a bit of spice to enhance it – give it a little heat here, a little sweetness there, just to balance it all together.”

“Letting the pork brine slowly over time enhances the rich, nutty flavor and aroma of the Nutcracker tea, and the warmth of the spices. I left the pork to brine for 12 hours, allowing it to do its own natural osmosis and absorb all the flavors – you wouldn’t achieve the same flavor profile otherwise. I’ve tried adding more tea and leaving it to brine for less time, 4 hours, but it didn’t achieve an as desirable result: less flavor and tenderness.”

Pork Brine

  • 1L Water 
  • 100 g. Salt
  • 100 g. Honey
  • 1/4 cup TEALEAVES Nutcracker Loose Leaf Tea
  • 1 Arbol Chili 
  • 4 Cloves 
  • 4 Allspice, whole
  • 1 Tbsp. Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Peppercorns
  • 1L Ice Water
  1. Combine water, salt and honey in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.

  2. In a sauté pan, add all the spices and tea leaves, and cook until toasted and aromatic.

  3. Add the toasted spices to the boiling water mix, and steep for 5 minutes.

  4. After 5 minutes, add the ice water and allow to cool to below 40ºF.

  5. Once cooled, submerge the pork chops and allow to brine for at least 12 hours, refrigerated.

  6. Once ready, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.

  7. Grill over medium-high heat to desired doneness.

Green Mustard Puree

  • 1 Bunch Green Mustard
  • 3 g. Salt
  • 10 mL. Banyuls Vinegar
  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil.

  2. In the meantime, remove the mustard leaves from the stems and wash well.

  3. Blanch the mustard leaves until tender and shock in ice water.

  4. Squeeze the mustard of water and roughly chop.

  5. Puree the mustard in the blender until smooth, then add salt and Banyuls vinegar.

  6. Add a dash of good olive oil for viscosity and sheen.


  • 30 Grams TEALEAVES Nutcracker Loose Leaf Tea
  • 130 g. AP Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 30 mL. Milk
  1. Toast the tea in a small sauté pan until smoky. The tea should be almost burnt.

  2. Allow to cool and grind in a spice grinder into a fine powder.

  3. Combine this with flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.

  5. Add the wet mix to the dry mix, and combine with a wood spoon or rubber spatula, until it resembles a wet dough.

  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 1 hour.

  7. Cook the dough in salted boiling water.

  8. Press the dough through a perforated pan using a bowl scraper to achieve classic spaetzle shapes.

  9. Remove when the dumplings float for 1 minute.

  10. Allow to cool.

  11. Before serving, cook the spaetzle again in a hot sauté pan with a small amount of clarified butter.

  12. Cook until brown and crispy, and season with salt and chives.

Pickled Apple

  • 20 g. TEALEAVES Nutcracker Loose Leaf Tea
  • 125 mL. Water
  • 125 mL. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 12 g. Honey
  • 12 g. Salt
  • 1 Green Apple, melon-balled
  1. Toast the tea in a small sauté pan until smoky. The tea should be almost burnt.

  2. Allow to cool and grind in a spice grinder into a fine powder.

  3. Combine this with water, vinegar, honey and salt, and bring to a boil.

  4. Cool slightly, and add the melon-balled apples into the pickling juice.

  5. Allow to pickle for 4 hours before serving. Refrigerate immediately.

In time for the holidays, TEALEAVES, in a collaboration with 15+ ballet companies, 10+ luxury hotel partners, and an antiquarian horologist, launched the worldwide Nutcracker #AfternoonTEALEAVES: Gifts of Time initiative. The project is a twist to the traditional gift guide that offers experiential pairings to afternoon tea, themed after the story of the Nutcracker, and celebrates the arts, true craftsmanship, and spending quality time with others.

Piece together your real-life Nutcracker fairytale and explore various ‘Gifts of Time’. Journey to

Tea in Recipe

Loose leaf Tea | Black

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