I had grand plans for a gorgeous autumnal Choucroute Garni, but life interfered (I'm certain you're well aware of know how life tends to do that) and I realized that a long-cooking dish in the Dutch oven simply wouldn't do.
Food needed to appear on the table STAT.
Luckily, a deconstructed Choucroute Garni happens to make for one of the quickest meals out there. And a darn tasty one at that.
Enter... Smoked Chops and Apple-Kissed Kraut.
Easy! Fast! Tasty! Seasonally appropriate! Exactly the kind of thing you want in your weeknight dinner arsenal, no?
I've configured this recipe for two, but if you want to serve more, just double the chops and kraut.
If you can't find smoked pork chops, you can use the standard ones, but the smoked ones (a German specialty) are really quite tasty, so I'd recommend you try to track them down.
Smoked Chops and Apple-Kissed Kraut (Serves 2)
2 tsp vegetable oil or bacon fat
2 smoked pork chops
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups sauerkraut
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp honey (or a little more, to taste)
1. Chop the apple into 1/2" cubes and slice the onion.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil or bacon fat in a medium-sized saucepan and the remaining teaspoon of oil in a skillet.
3. Saute the chopped apple and sliced onion in the saucepan for 5-10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, begin searing the pork chops over medium-high heat in the skillet.
5. Add the cinnamon stick, sauerkraut and cider vinegar into the apple-onion mixture. Let the kraut mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes.
6. When the pork chops have a little color on each side, remove from the heat and allow them to rest. (Smoked pork chops are already fully cooked. If you're cooking raw pork chops, make they reach an internal temperature of 160°.)
7. Season the apple-kraut mixture (to taste) with a little honey, divide it between two plates and serve each of the cooked pork chops on its own little bed of kraut.
Around here, this is the kind of meal that's typically served alongside a crisp green salad (maybe with apples, walnuts, goat cheese and a cider vinaigrette?) or steamed Brussels sprouts, but you'll have to gauge your own tastes.
In any case, it certainly makes an excellent autumnal meal (those apples! that cabbage!) for not a whole lot of money or time investment. And who couldn't use a few more of those?