Thick-cut pork chops cooked tender in a bed of sauerkraut, apple and onion. This is one of my very oldest recipes, it's a fall favorite year in and year out.
~Recipe updated 2015 for a little weeknight cooking inspiration!~
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 that Santa shops at my local kitchen shop here in suburban St. Louis?! It 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.
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 & APPLES
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 (chicken stock works too)
- 1-1/2 pounds thick-cut bone-in pork chops
- Olive oil
- A bit of sugar (for browning)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Splash of apple cider or juice
SAUERKRAUT Rinse and drain the sauerkraut. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the bacon grease on medium high until shimmery. Add brown sugar, caraway, then onion and apple as they're prepped. Let simmer until onions turn gold, stirring often. Add sauerkraut and cider, then return to simmer.
PORK CHOPS Meanwhile, pat the chops dry, then rub both sides with a little oil, one side with sugar, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chops sugar-side down into a second skillet, it should be cold not hot! Set heat on medium, cook the chops for 5 minutes just until they're beginning to brown. Flip the chops and cook another 3 minutes.
COMBINE Arrange the chops on top of the sauerkraut, the sugared side up. Add a cider splash to the meat skillet, it will sizzle! Stir the skillet to collect all the meat bits, then pour those meat juices over the chops. Insert the digital thermometer probe horizontally into one chop until the tip reaches the fleshy midpoint, you don't want it to touch bone. Finish cooking either on top of the stove or in the oven.
STOVETOP OPTION Cover the skillet and let cook on medium heat until the chops are fully cooked, that takes 5 – 15 minutes depending on their thickness.
OVEN OPTION Cover the skillet and let bake at 400F/200C until chops are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
WHEN ARE THE CHOPS DONE? The chops are done when the internal temperature reaches 145F to 160F. Why 145F - 160F? Here's the explanation, Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?
Such An Easy, Adaptable Recipe
When I visit my dad in my hometown in Minnesota, the cooking setup is, well, different. He doesn't cook so there are basically no pantry staples, the few spices in the cupboard are more than a decade old, dating back to before my mom passed away. It's a small town, just 1000 people, so the grocery store isn't as well-stocked as I'd like.
When I'm visiting for a week or more, I'll carry along spices and staples and if the timing's right, stop for produce along the way at the wonderful St. Paul farmers market.
But when I'm just there for a day or two, these pork chops work beautifully! Here are my notes from the last visit. "VVG! No thick chops. No spices. No apple juice. Just S&P and a small can of pears. Drained sauerkraut in sack by cutting holes in bottom. Browned chops then put back in cast iron skillet, covered w foil, baked 45min 400F with roasting veggies, they went in first. Meat very tender & flavorful. Geese honking outside."
Tee hee, just a little local color there at the end. Twas fall, for sure!
Thick-Cut "Iowa Chops" Are a Favorite Here!
More Sauerkraut Recipes
Shop Your Pantry First
© Copyright 2006, 2007, 2009 & 2015 (repub) Kitchen Parade