JAMES BEARD’S PORK CHOP SAUERKRAUT CASSEROLE (braised pork chops with sauerkraut, for four)
4 thick bacon slices
four 1 inch thick loin pork chops, brined for 2 hours in a solution of ¼ cup kosher salt dissolved into 1 quart (4 cups) cold water
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 pounds sauerkraut, rinsed and drained in a colander
½ teaspoon juniper berries or caraway seeds (optional)
2 cups beer
1. Saute the bacon in a heavy skillet until just cooked through but not crisp. Transfer it to a deep casserole. Remove the chops from the brine, rinse them under cold tap water and pat them dry with paper towels. Brown the pork chops quickly in the bacon fat and add the chopped garlic.
2. While the pork chops are browning, add the sauerkraut to the bacon along with the pepper and juniper or caraway, if desired. When the chops are nicely browned, season to taste with salt and pepper and bury in the sauerkraut. Pour the beer over all.
3. Cover the casserole and simmer on top of the stove for 45 minutes or place in a preheated, 350* oven for the same period. Serve from the casserole with mashed potatoes and sautéed apple slices.
NOTE: Sausages can be added to this. Simply sauté brautwurst, weisswurst, etc. in the bacon fat and bury in the sauerkraut along with the pork chops.
adapted from James Beard, American Cookery