Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pork and Sauerkraut

I have been reading over the past couple years about the health benefits of eating fermented foods. Almost every culture has some of its traditional foods that were fermented or pickled. As our diets have become more limited to processed foods, we are missing vital nutrients and health benefits that were previously rich in these diets that included fermented foods. One food that was enjoyed in large quantities even just a generation ago is sauerkraut. However, many people today do not like the tang and sour flavor found in this food. This recipe is a great way to enjoy the sauerkraut without tasting the traditional sour taste.

This is actually a couple different versions of pork and sauerkraut. The first one is from a distant cousin whom we have visited with a few times over the past few years. When Don made this version of pork and sauerkraut, we were immediately in love with it and could not get enough of it. I was surprised to find out that he had used molasses drizzled over the sauerkraut and pork as it cooked. While I still like the way I used to make pork and sauerkraut- (browning the pork tenderloin with seasonings and herbs, then slow cooking it with the sauerkraut (in its juice, not drained completely) and then served with mashed potatoes), this has definitely become my favorite way to have the pork and sauerkraut, and the kids like it much better.

His recipe is as follows: it did not include amounts- just a technique, and he used spareribs.

"Important that you rinse in a strainer the salt from the sauerkraut before adding it.
Spareribs are first charcoal broiled in a pan on an outside charcoal cooker.
Upon completion, layer them alternately in a pressure cooker with the sauerkraut and molasses drizzled over each layer of sauerkraut.
Pressure cook approximately 30 minutes. VOILA, DELICIOSO!!"

Because it was winter and quite cold outside, I made this version inside and did not charcoal the meat. I also did not use spareribs- I used pork cubes that I found on sale at a butcher shop. This is my version loosely based on my cousin's recipe.


2 pounds pork cubes/ meat chunks
2 (2 pound) bags of sauerkraut (rinsed and drained)
salt/pepper/seasoned salt to taste

Brown the pork with seasonings in a large frying pan. Layer the pork, sauerkraut and drizzled molasses in layers in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. If using a pressure cooker, cook for approximately 30 minutes. If using a slow cooker, turn on high and cook for approximately 4 hours or 8 hours on low. Before serving, stir the sauerkraut and meat, slightly shredding the pork.

This tastes great with some mashed potatoes and fresh corn. Serves approximately 8 people.


Another version/recipe I came across as I was preparing the recipe above, was from the Hatfield Sauerkraut package. It sounds very good and is somewhat similar in that it uses a little brown sugar to sweeten the sauerkraut.


3 pounds Hatfield Sauerkraut
4 Hatfield Simply Tender Thick Pork Chops, browned in butter
1 package Hatfield Polish Kielbasa Links
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 Tbsp dill seeds

1. Layer in a crock in order: Thick browned pork chops, 1 1/2 cup prepared sauerkraut, 1 Tbsp caraway seeds, 1/2 Tbsp dill seeds, 1/2 cup chopped onion.
2. Sprinkle 1/2 of the brown sugar. Repeat layering in order as above, adding in the kielbasa in the 2nd layer.
3. Cook in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Sauerkraut will turn to a light brown.
4. If cooking in the oven in a roasting pan, cook for 2 hours on 350 degrees.

Serves 4-6

German Pork Chops and Sauerkraut on Foodista


  1. Hi, visiting from Blog Frog. I made pork and saurkraut last night!!! funny I am reading this today, and love the molasses idea. will try it.
    thanks for sharing. love your blog too!!!

  2. This sounds absolutely delicious, I am so hungry right now..I wish we had teleportation through the computer..yum! Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog, hope to get to know you better in blog land!

  3. Looks delicious! I haven't had saurkraut in a long time!

    I love your blog and have given you the Stylish Blogger Award! You can get the details here:

  4. Recipes look good. You don't mention anything about liquid. I'm afraid to try beauce am worried that the sauerkraut will become dry and then after 6 hours have no dinner... Even your old recipe you say to pour the juice from the can in. Some recipes call for beer or apples etc.
    Oh - and where do you get "fresh" corn in Fall/Winter when this dish is normally made? ;-)

  5. Thanks for your question, James. When you put the sauerkraut in the crockpot, it still has some liquid in it- you don't have to press out the liquid when rinsing/straining it. Then the molasses drizzles on the layers adds some liquid, as well. Crockpots keep the moisture from the sauerkraut and meat from escaping as long as the lid is not removed during cooking. If you are concerned, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, but not much more or the flavors will be diluted.

    About the corn, we were served this in the late summer when the last of the corn was being picked around us. I agree that fresh corn isn't available during the fall when this is usually made. However, our relative made this dish on the grill and pressure cooker and was able to enjoy it in the summer also! If you freeze fresh corn, that is the next best thing. Hope it turns out well for you.

  6. with regards to rinsing sauerkraut vs. not rinsing, it all depends on if you like the sauerkraut stronger flavor or not. Rinsing just makes the flavor not as prominent in the rest of the dish but still leaves a little in the cabbage.


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