Sauerkraut is not one of the first things you think about when shopping at a market for the next meal that you will prepare. Yet it is found as an ingredient in many dishes. The French have their wonderful choucroute, the Germans serve heaping platters of sausages and hocks piled high on sauerkraut, the Polish make their tasty sauerkraut pierogi. Here in the states, people think of it as a topping on a steamed hotdog and as part of a Reuben sandwich. For New Year’s celebrations, many people believe that pork and sauerkraut will bring them good luck.
I thought I would share a dish that we enjoy this time of the year. Smoked pork chops with sauerkraut is a tasty meal for fall. If we are having a Octoberfest party, I will add German sausages, potatoes and apples to the recipe. Served alongside crusty rye and pumpernickel bread, pretzels, sweet and hot mustards, lots of beer and Gewürztraminer wine, it makes a large crowd of people very happy.
Smoked Pork Chops With Sauerkraut
- 4 thick sliced smoked pork chops (fully cooked)
- 1 quart New Kraut (I like Ba-tampte refrigerated sauerkraut)*
- 2 – 3 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced (pancetta can also be used)
- 1 large onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. flour
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 juniper berries
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 1 c. wine, beer or apple cider
In a large dutch over, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it renders its fat. Set aside the bacon but leave the bacon fat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the butter and garlic and sauté for one minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Add the bacon back into the pot along with all the other ingredients except the pork chops. Stir well, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the sauerkraut has become very creamy. This should take about an hour on low heat. Stir often, checking to make sure the sauerkraut has not become dry. If more liquid is needed, water can be added as necessary.
In a large skillet, lightly brown the pork chops in just a little oil or butter for one minute on each side. Add the chops to the fully cooked sauerkraut and cook until heated through.
If you are making this recipe for a crowd just increase all ingredients. Thirty minutes before you meal is finished you could add potatoes, apples or sausages. If adding German white sausages, brown first and then only put into the sauerkraut for the last five minutes so that they don’t split open.
*I like using refrigerated sauerkraut. Please taste whatever brand that you purchase. Some brands can be very salty or very strong. It that is the case just rinse in a colander with cold water and drain.
The is an easy meal to prepare. You will probably have left over sauerkraut so think of those hotdogs and Reubens.