German food is so good, particularly when fall arrives. There are no better meals than those which are made in a Dutch Oven. If you don't own one, put it on your wish list...you'll be glad you did. The ingredients in this dish combine to make a very mild yet very flavorful dish. I like mashed potatoes with this, but you could go the distance and prepare some German Potato Pancakes to go with. Peas add a little sweet to the picture. If you don't like peas, go with string beans. I hope you make this and share with your family or friends...it does make a generous amount.
In a large frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan. Place on a plate to set aside. When cooled, chop roughly.
In the same pan, brown all the pork chops in the bacon fat. Do this in batches, setting the browned pieces on a tray. Season the pork with the 2 tsp salt and the 1/2 tsp pepper.
Add 2 Tbsp butter to the same pan and saute the onion for 4-5 minutes, or until clear. Add the drained sauerkraut,1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and caraway seeds. Cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Transfer the sauerkraut/onion mix to a large Dutch oven.
Bury the 3 pieces of bay leaf in the sauerkraut, evenly spaced. Bury the sliced apples in the sauerkraut too. Place the browned pork chops on top of the apples and sauerkraut.
To the same large frying pan, which has residual bits left in it, return to the stove and over high heat deglaze with the wine and gin. When boiling, cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and pour the juices over the top of the pork.
Cover the Dutch Oven with lid and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Reduce to 300 degrees and cook 1 hour more. Turn off oven and rest while you finish up your side dishes.
Serves 8 generously. Mashes potatoes and peas are the perfect accompaniments.