Giving Thanks for Sauerkraut

We all have special holiday traditions donning our dinner tables throughout the season. For one editor, Grandma’s sauerkraut always makes an appearance.

Brining and fermenting vegetables is a big trend. Just ask any chef. But that still won’t persuade most people to offer sauerkraut (pickled, chopped cabbage) with their Thanksgiving spread this year. It will be on my table, though, just as it has been my whole life. I didn’t even realize this was considered odd until I celebrated the holiday in other states.

In my hometown of Baltimore, the pungent dish is as much a part of the feast as the turkey, thanks to my German relatives who, along with many of their countrymen, settled in the port city. In fact, in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, a quarter of Baltimore’s population was German.

In memory of my late grandmother, Alma O’Brecht O’Connor, I’d like to share a recipe that’s been in my family for generations. I hope you enjoy it.

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Grandma’s Sauerkraut

1 small package refrigerated sauerkraut
1 boneless pork chop
1 apple
1 onion
2 tablespoons sugar

Place sauerkraut in a large pot. Cut pork chop into fourths. Peel apple, core, seed and cut into quarters. Peel onion and quarter. Add pork chop, apple and onion to the pot with the sauerkraut. Add enough water to see it come through the sauerkraut. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir. Cover pot and simmer two hours. Remove apple and pork chop before serving.


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