This blog is coming to you as a special request of my dad. 🙂 Last Sunday, my parents came for a visit which is pretty typical for a Sunday, and we love the family time. We were mainly getting together so they could get their weekly dose of Dane snuggles, but also do a little birthday celebrating for me. One of our family birthday traditions is that you get to pick dinner (I’m sure this isn’t unique to just our family, but it’s one of my favorite things.)
Technically, I didn’t pick this dinner (which ended up being lunch), but it would have been a top contender, if I was given the choice. So it was the perfect birthday food. This recipe is just about as old as it is simple – we’ve been eating it for years and years and it’s a family favorite – summoning our German heritage. We’ve always made this in a pressure cooker – specifically the one my parents got 30+ years ago when they were first married. This thing has stood the test of time and is very “well seasoned” as my mom puts it.
What you need:
- Thinly sliced pork loin chops (we made 12 but you could do less)
- 2 large cans of sauerkraut – or the bags would work too!
…. that’s it. no salt, no pepper… nada.
Like I mentioned above, we made these in my parent’s trusty pressure cooker, but I think a good dutch oven or even that fancy Insta-pot everyone is raving out these days might work great too. (Anyone have experience with it? Worth it? I’m doing some research)
On medium heat, start by browning your chops on both sides in a drizzle of olive oil – just enough so they don’t stick. I did this in rounds – 4 chops at a time and then pulled them out and set aside. Once all the meat is browned, I added about 1/4 cup of water to the pan and scraped up all those delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Next we layered back in the meat, alternating with sauerkraut, and a little extra water to just the top of the food. On the lid goes and then the magic happens.
The next part is kind of hard to explain, and I’m guessing this is the reason people don’t often cook with old fashioned pressure cookers anymore. My dad explained that we had to lock the lid, set the pressure gauge to 10, and turn the flame to about medium high heat and wait… It’s more of a feeling and being experienced at using this thing that makes it easy.
While we waited, about an hour or so, for the tell-tale hissing from the crock pot, we played with Play dough and read lots of books. Dane is really into the play dough, which he calls Potado (he combines play and play dough) and somehow that’s what he calls it… kids ;).
We served this up with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots (which ended up being delicious even though they took wayyyy longer than normal to roast.) Simple, delicious and nostalgic.
To be honest with you – when my parents showed up I had no intentions of taking photos of this meal – mostly because it’s SO simple and I wasn’t sure if anyone would make it or appreciate it the way I do. So thank you dad, for suggesting I do – I will be so happy one day to have written instructions on this meal. Thank you also for the photo ideas – you’ve been officially promoted as Staying Martha’s art director.
One of the things I feel most thankful for as we navigate this battle with cancer, is time. Some days are hard, and some are easier but the thing that remains most true is that we are truly blessed to have the time to spend together, making memories and good food as a family. Even though this recipe is as simple as it gets, its a very special one – and I’ll cherish the memory of my dad teaching me how to make it for myself.
Oh and if sauerkraut is not your thing… that’s cool – my mom scoops out the pork chops and adds barbecue sauce. It’s NOT as good, in my opinion, but it works! 🙂