Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pork, Apples, and 'Kraut: A Perfect Combination

If you are looking for a fall supper that is full of comforting flavors, you can't go wrong with this simple concoction.  I made this the other evening, when it was dark and wet and chill.  It reached culinary perfection, and was warming and filling...just plain good, as simple peasant food should be.  It's a great use for an inexpensive cut of meat, too.  I think people overlook the shoulder steak in favor for the ubiquitous pork chop, and boy, are they missing out.

This dish is simple to make, and finishes in the oven, so it is great to get started and then go on and do other chores while you are waiting for dinner to be done.  You'll need a pork shoulder steak per person, unless you want to share (the steaks are usually pretty big), and be sure to leave the bone in--it adds a lot of flavor during the cooking process, and helps the steak cook evenly.  Start off by heating a little lard or oil/fat of your choice in a cast iron pan, and then add your steak to brown on both sides.  I like to salt and pepper the meat during this stage, but you can decide if you want to season or not.  Once the steak is browned, remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate for a minute. 

Now, you want to add your applesauce and sauerkraut to the pan.  I usually use a pint jar of each, so there's equal amounts of both in the sauce, but if you like applesauce more, or 'kraut more, you can add more of whichever proportion you prefer.  Stir them together, and then place the steak into the pan.  Cover with a piece of foil and pop into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Then, remove the foil and return the pan to the oven for 5-8 minutes longer, until steak is cooked through and sauce has thickened to your liking. 

Serve steak either topped by the applesauce-sauerkraut mixture, or with the mix on the side.  I like this with a nice slice of hearty bread and a glass of ginger ale (or a dark beer, if its handy).  This kind of peasant food can make you feel all kinds of warm and hearty, ready to settle in for a comfortable evening by the fire with a book in hand and a snoring dog at your feet.

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