Frigid weather and Eastern European flavors were built for one another. Hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare is just what the doctor ordered when outside temps seem more suited to the frozen tundra of the far, far (FAR) north than to Western Pennsylvania.
Morning temps of -10, -8, -4 demand substantial fuel for our bodies to warm us up and get us through the workday until we're once again home...preferably snuggled under an afghan next to a roaring fire. (Can't you just picture a golden lab sleeping peacefully in front of the fireplace while you cradle a mug of steaming cider between your slowly thawing hands?)
What might such a dinner consist of? Pork. And bacon. Cabbage and beer! Here's a dish that's sure to warm you from the inside out.....
Beer Braised Pork Chops
With Cabbage, Apples And Caraway
- 4 slices thick sliced peppered bacon, cut across into 1/2" lardons
- 4 1" thick bone-in center cut loin pork chops
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 T. Butter
- 1 small head of cabbage, cut into quarters, core removed and sliced across into 1/2" slices - about 12 C, more or less
- 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 T butter
- 2 T dark brown sugar
- 3 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 t kosher salt
- 1 t caraway seeds (optional, but it really makes a difference!)
- 12 oz. bottle of beer (I used gluten free beer to make this GF)
In a large electric skillet, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet. Add 1 T butter to the skillet, melt it with the bacon fat.
Season the chops on both sides with salt & pepper and brown them on both sides in the skillet. Remove to a plate.
Add 1 T butter to skillet again and melt. Add the cabbage, apple and onion. Stir and let it soften. Add brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, 1 1/2 t kosher salt, caraway seeds and the reserved bacon. Stir everything together well.
Add the pork chops back into the skillet, nestling them into the cabbage mixture. Spoon some of the mixture over the pork chops.
Pour the bottle of beer over all, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about an hour until the pork chops are tender, but the cabbage mixture is still moist. (Add a little water, if necessary.)
Just add a salad or a veggie of some type...and definitely a nice dark pumpernickel to complete the meal!