When my mother cooked pork chops it was usually atop sauerkraut. The meat drippings turned the kraut a bit greasy, but, boy, were they good! When I took up cooking pork chops, my family wasn’t keen on kraut, so I cooked the chops over sliced potatoes. In the 60s, we added a can of Campbell’s chicken or mushroom soup for added decadence.
Improving on a Classic
Recently I came upon this recipe that smothers the chops with sauerkraut, potatoes, apples, and onions. The guy posting it on line said it was the favorite of a woman, who was a pig farmer—which I suppose gives her some culinary creds. Both vowed it was a recipe for fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork chops. As it turned out, they were right.
I cooked the recipe pretty much as written, which I usually do the first time. Having done that, I want to reiterate some of the instructions in case you’re tempted to ignore them.
- Use thick-cut shoulder or sirloin pork chops with some marbling. The thinner cuts take less time to cook, but have a tendency to dry out. You want an internal temperature of 145 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Be sure to brown the chops before baking; it locks in the flavor.
- I sauteed the onions in the pan drippings from the browned chops.
- I only cooked the dish an hour. I didn’t cook it any additional time after removing the foil or it would have dried out.
- Don’t be tempted to reduce the brown sugar; it’s needed.
Pork Chops with Sauerkraut, Potatoes and Apples
- 1 1/4 lbs. potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced (2 large)
- 2 Tbs. butter, melted
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 6 pork chops, 1″ thick
- 3 cups sauerkraut, drained
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 apple, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped
- 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place potatoes and butter in a 9×13 pan. Toss with garlic powder, salt and black pepper to taste.
- Season pork chops with small amount of salt and pepper. Brown over medium high heat, about 3 minutes each side.
- Meanwhile, combine sauerkraut, brown sugar, onion, apple and caraway seeds (if using) in a bowl.
- Place 1/2 of the sauerkraut mixture over the potatoes. Top with browned pork chops and finally remaining sauerkraut mixture. Cover tightly with foil.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake an additional 15-30 minutes, (if needed), or until fork tender. Serve warm with applesauce.