Thick Chops with Sauerkraut

Thick-cut pork chops cooked tender in a bed of sauerkraut, apple and onion.

Thick Chops with Sauerkraut, cooked perfectly with a digital thermometer

This year’s favorite new kitchen tool is a digital meat thermometer. Before now, poke-it-in-every-so-often meat thermometers only rarely, ahem, produced perfectly cooked meat.

Mine came from Santa (who knew Santa shops at my local kitchen shop here in suburban St. Louis?!) and has a heat-resistant cord that connects the temperature probe to a digital display. While the meat cooks, the probe stays inserted while the display rests nearby away from the heat, whether the stove, the oven, even the grill.

No more is there cause to poke holes in the meat, releasing precious flavor and moisture. No more must the grill or oven door be opened, releasing precious heat. There’s even an alarm when the meat reaches the specified temp. (That said, the alarm instructions are not intuitive so I usually just visually monitor the display.) The best news is that with the new thermometer, I’ve overcooked meat only twice, once when distracted by the phone, once when the probe was resting on bone.

Does your Santa take suggestions? Meat thermometers make for great gifts for stockings and culinary pals.

ALANNA's TIPS For great flavor, choose sauerkraut in bags or jars, not cans. Watch too for small producers. Thick-cut chops are often large so one chop may be two servings. Starting the meat in a cold skillet helps retain moisture. For easier clean up, brown the meat first and set aside, then cook the sauerkraut in the same skillet.

QUICK SUPPER RECIPE:
THICK CHOPS with SAUERKRAUT

Moist chops in apple-chunky sauerkraut
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 30-45 minutes
Serves 4
    SAUERKRAUT
  • 16 ounces sauerkraut (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tart apples, skins on, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
    CHOPS
  • 1-1/2 pounds (see TIPS) thick-cut bone-in pork chops, patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (for browning)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of apple cider or juice

Rinse and drain the sauerkraut. In a large skillet, heat the bacon grease on medium high until shimmery. Add brown sugar, caraway, then onion and apple as prepped. Let simmer until onions turn gold, stirring often. Add sauerkraut and cider, then return to simmer.

Meanwhile, rub chops on both sides with oil, one side with sugar, then season both sides. Place sugar-side down in a second cold (see TIPS) skillet. Set heat on medium, cook 5 minutes til just browning. Turn, cook 3 minutes. Arrange chops atop sauerkraut. Add cider splash to meat skillet (it will sizzle); stir to collect meat bits, pour over chops. Insert thermometer probe horizontally in one chop until tip reaches fleshy midpoint. Cover, cook until temperature reaches 140F, 5 – 15 minutes depending on thickness.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 331 Calories; 16g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 28g Carb; 5g Fiber; 372mg Sodium; 59mg Cholesterol; Protein 37. Weight Watcher Old Points 7, PointsPlus 10

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg
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More Easy Pork Recipes

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Alanna, Chops and sauerkratu. That is sooo German and something we would typically get over at my mum-in-laws!! And this is pretty close to the way she makes it too. I was never a sauerkraut fan - but my mum-in-laws is irresistible and this looks great too. Perfect!

11/10/2006
 
Thanks, Meeta! It was my aunt who turned me onto sauerkraut, by giving me a big jar of her local sauerkraut from Minnesota. It was just gorgeous so I've been having fun with it. The chops are very worth cooking, even without sauerkraut.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna