My Brother’s Sauerkraut

My brother, Lt.Col. John A.  Jones Jr (deceased) was a decorated fighter pilot who flew missions in WWW2, Korea and Viet Nam.  Jack was a basic but inventive cook like my mother.  He shared her fondness for entertaining and gin which makes an appearance in the wonderful recipe sent to me by his son, Paul,  who is carrying on his father’s cooking legacy.

This is the best sauerkraut I have ever had anywhere!

Ingredients

4 tablespoon pork fat or butter

4 ounces smoked bacon, diced small

1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions

1 cup grated Granny Smith Apple

1 teaspoon dry thyme

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

4 crushed juniper berries (or add 2 Tbs. gin to casserole)

2 lb jar fresh sauerkraut, rinsed

2 Cups chicken stock 2 lbs pork riblets browned (directions below)

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Preparation

  • Cook bacon and onions in butter slowly in a covered casserole for 10 minutes without browning

  • Stir in the sauerkraut and when well covered with the fat and vegetables, cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes more

  • While the sauerkraut is cooking slowly, brown the pork riblets in a skillet

  • Add the apple, thyme, caraway seeds, juniper berries to the casserole . Stir to thoroughly mix.

  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar

  • Bury the riblets in the sauerkraut

  • Bring the casserole back to a simmer

  • Cover the casserole and braise undisturbed approximately 1 1/2 hr until most of the liquid has cooked out

Pork Riblets

  • Riblets are made by having the butcher take a full length slab of  baby back pork ribs and cut them with a cleaver so the bones are only half as long as normal, perhaps 2-4″.

  • This is done to make smaller portions and to remove the curve of the baby backs to produce a flatter slab.