The first secret to really good sauerkraut and pork is to RINSE THE SAUERKRAUT!! But not too much. Put the kraut into a colander and run some water over it. Some of the brine (salt) from the kraut has to be rinsed off or it will be too salty to eat. BUT -- and this is important -- don't rinse it so thoroughly that there is no longer any salt left... then you will have to add some for taste. How can you tell when it has been rinsed enough? Taste it. Your own tongue is your best salt thermometer. Before you rinse and after you rinse -- taste it. You will know how much you need to rinse. Each brand is different.
Mom always cooked ours in a pressure cooker, but this can be done in a slow cooker crock pot, or simply on the stove top, too. The goal is to get the meat fall-apart tender and tasty which may take a while.
You can brown the meat if you like, but it is not absolutely necessary. Up to you.
Layer starting with the kraut, meat, kraut, meat, kraut. You want each piece of meat to be surrounded by kraut for the good flavors. Just stack it up according to the size of your pan and the quantity of ingredients. Just be sure to start and stop with kraut. Pour on the cup of water and sprinkle a little pepper on top.
PRESSURE COOKER: turn burner on high, when it hits high steam, turn down to simmer (which reduces the pressure of the steam) and let cook for about 20-25 minutes.
SLOW COOKER CROCK POT: turn pot to high to heat for about 30 minutes, then turn to low and let it cook all day
TOP OF THE STOVE: turn up high to heat, turn down low to slowly simmer for about 4 hours.
SUSAN'S VARIATION: after the sauerkraut and pork is finished cooking put the cornstarch in the cold water and add to s&p. Turn heat up a little to cook and thicken -- then serve
Marcia's addition: I love the taste of caraway and I would simply add a Tbsp of caraway seed at the beginning of the cooking process. (Susan does not like caraway.)
I've also tried it with thinly sliced apple (with peeling), garlic, and 1/2 C red cooking wine and found it to be so tasty I left out the caraway and now make it this way. Delicious!!
What you add is up to you. My recommendation is to try it with Mom's simple method first... Her's is the basic recipe that we loved and it really does not need to be changed to be absolutely delicious. Then the next time you make it try out some of the other variations. That's part of what I love about cooking -- the creativity. It's like a new adventure and you don't have to leave the kitchen to have the excitement! HA!
This is a low carb meal (cabbage and meat) but it is often served with mashed potatoes. Enjoy!!