A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law requested a recipe for pork chops with sauerkraut and apples. My experience with sauerkraut is pretty limited, but I do know that whenever I get a bratwurst, there never seems to be enough of the stuff – I’m always rationing the sauerkraut as I eat, lest I find myself with one bite to go and no kraut available.
I’d looked for chilled sauerkraut without much success at a few of my usual stores (I didn’t think I’d have any trouble, but apparently you can’t trust Trader Joe for everything), and eventually relied on my neighbor to grab me some when she was at a different market. She came home with this, which cracked me up:
Why doesn’t it say “Barrel Kured?”
So I broke into my Skagit River Ranch stash and set out to make pork chops positively swimming in sauerkraut. After searing the herbed chops, I sauteed tart apples and added sauerkraut with some of its liquid, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard to make a lip-smaking topping that reminded us of salt and vinegar potato chips. You can serve the chops with the kraut topping as is, or make a not-so-healthy entire meal out of it (was I the one talking about eating more greens?) by piling the whole shebang onto a thick slab of toasted, buttered bread. This is what we did; my in-laws’ flight was early and we were in a bit of a hurry. The bread soaks up the extra vinegar quite nicely.
My husband and I hadn’t really touched base all day, and while we ate I was trying to figure out whether he had arranged to meet his parents at a certain place, whether he’d spoken to them that day, etc. He got very agitated when I found out he hadn’t told them we’d be waiting in Sea-Tac’s cell phone waiting lot. I released the anti-cell phone monster.
Him: You’ve got to get over this cell phone thing. People made plans and carried them out successfully long before the invention of the cell phone.
Me: Fine. But you don’t have to be so condescending about it, Mr. Cell Phone . . .(at this point I tried to think of a clever way of pointing out that he caved in and started using a cell phone when we moved to Seattle, but found myself at a loss).
Him: I’m not being condescending. I’m being indignant, which is different. It means I hold the whole world in disdain. Not just you.
Ohhhh. So that’s the difference.
Recipe for Salt-and-Vinegar Pork Chops with Sauerkraut
Recipe 53 of 365
Sauerkraut is like pickles – the refrigerated kind almost always beats the kind you find on the shelf. This recipe makes more than enough vinegar-kicked sauerkraut and granny smith apple topping for two big pork chops, but unless (like me) you insist on a high kraut-to-chop ratio, you could probably stretch it over four pork chops without any complaints.
I used half thyme and half sage for the herbs. You could substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs (such as rubbed sage), if you prefer.
TIME: 15 minutes
MAKES: 2 big servings
2 pork loin chops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, sage, rosemary, or a combination of herbs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1 packed cup sauerkraut (with about 1/2 cup of its juice)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, and rub the herbs into the pork chops on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the oil and swirl the pan to coat, then add the chops, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the chops), or until browned and cooked through. Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the apples to the pan, and cook for about a minute, stirring. Add the sauerkraut (with juices), mustard, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve the chops with the sauerkraut mixture piled on top.