With three boys, a daughter, and son-in-law coming home for the Holidays, hearty, comforting dishes are in order for those days between festivities. This is a favorite! Linda G. wrote me with memories of her great aunt Caroline, a Chicago career woman who was also a seamstress, cook & baker. The dish Caroline used to make that Linda misses most combined bread, pork chops, sauerkraut and apples—a yummy mix originally celebrated in Southern Germany.
With some experimentation, I put together my own tribute to Caroline, with center-cut porkchops, mild sauerkraut, apples steamed in beer and buttery bread stuffing. For a super-tender, juicy result, I prepare the casserole in a baking bag, and roast the ingredients at a low temperature.Linda is happy : ) and this dish is really good—especially if you like stuffing! For extra flavor, steam the apples in Pilsner, and, add a sprinkling of caraway seed.
- 6 center-cut pork chops with a generous cap of fat on them
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 large jar mild Bavarian sauerkraut
- 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped, placed in steamer basket and steamed over very low heat until tender over 3/4 cup water or pilsner
- 4 cups cubed day-old bread (cut fat slices--rye bread or a good pugliese work great)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 to 2 tsp. caraway seed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 275.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, brown pork chops on all sides in butter. Set porkchops aside.
- In the same pan, add the chopped onion and saute onions in butter until soft. (Add a bit of water to prevent browning, if you like.) Add mild sauerkraut, and the apples that you’ve steamed, along with the water (or beer) you cooked them in. Add bread cubes, salt, pepper, parsley, and caraway seed (if using), and mix until well combined.
- Butter a casserole dish that comes with a cover. Spoon some of the stuffing into one end of the casserole . Firmly pack a pork chop next to stuffing, fat side up. Alternate stuffing and chops until all are incorporated into the casserole. Put the lid on the casserole. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 ½ hours.
- For extra flavor, steam the apples in beer. For a more modern preparation: place all of the ingredients in an ovenable baking bag inside the casserole.