Big Papi’s Polish Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Big Papi’s polish pork Chops and Sauerkraut

6 bone-in pork chops; (I like my chops 3/4- to 1-inch thick)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper; to taste
1 large yellow onion; roughly diced
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
1 32-oz jar sauerkraut; (or 32-oz bag)
1 12-oz bottle lager beer
4 medium red potatoes; (up to 5 medium), cut into eighths
1 tablespoon juniper berries; coarsely chopped or crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 large Red Delicious apple
4 strips of Bacon diced

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place bacon in a non-reactive dutch oven or stew pot over medium low heat and gently render fat and browned. Remove to a bowl and reserve.

Generously season chops with salt and pepper and brown in batches in rendered fat over medium high heat. Remove chops to a plate as browned.

Reduce heat to medium, add diced onion, and saute until lightly browned. Remove onions to the bowl containing the pork & bacon, add juniper and Lipton soup mix and mix thoroughly.

Add 1/2 cup of beer to pot and deglaze, scraping up browned bits. Remove pot from heat.

Add 1 cup kraut (including juice) to pot. Place two chops on kraut and arrange 1/3 of potatoes around chops. Sprinkle in 1/3 of onion mixture. Repeat layering ending with final 1 cup of kraut on top. Add all juices from chops, onions, and kraut juice. Add remaining beer and, if necessary, water to bring liquid level just to the top of the kraut.

Peel, core and dice the apple. Add to the pan with the cumin seeds
Return pot to stove and bring to boil over high heat. Cover tightly, place in preheated oven, and cook for one hour or until chops are tender and falling off the bone.

This is essentially a one-dish meal, but some good rye or pumpernickel bread for sopping up the broth is highly recommended. Also, homemade stewed apples are a traditional as well as delicious side dish.

Notes

As with most stews and braises, it gets better with age, so it makes for great leftovers you hear that Andrea leftovers.

This dish can be easily modified for a slow-cooker; prepare ingredients as directed but layer in your crock pot, instead of the Dutch oven, then set to high, cover and cook for 2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4-5 hours or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

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