Thick-cut pork chops cooked tender in a bed of sauerkraut, apple and onion.
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.
QUICK SUPPER RECIPE:
THICK CHOPS with SAUERKRAUT
Time to table: 30-45 minutes
- 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
- 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.
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