Braised Pork Chops and Sauerkraut #SundaySupper #FamilyDinnerTable

Braised Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

I never really helped my mom in the kitchen when I was a kid since it was really her domain, but nonetheless I was in the kitchen with her everyday doing my homework at the table. We had dinner at 5:00 every night. If my dad wasn’t home by 4:55, my mom would order me to call him at his office and tell him to come home for dinner (we lived in a very small town). Once the big hand was on the ’12’ and the little hand on the ‘5’, the table was set and everyone was at the table. Newspapers down, TV off, and no excuses.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I grew up primarily eating Korean food. It is my favorite cuisine. But as much as I love my mom’s Korean cooking and Korean food, one of my most memorable dishes from my childhood is pork chops and sauerkraut. I’m sure she got the recipe from one of our neighbors down the street. It’s a fairly simple dish. From what I observed as a child, my mom pan-fried the thin chops and then smothered the white chops with sauerkraut, and cooked that dish to death. Sure, the chops were a little dry and tough, but the caramelized sauerkraut made up for it. It didn’t matter, it was such a welcome treat from all the usual Korean meals.

That was then, this is now

As much as I would like to have the whole family at the dinner table during the week, it is not feasible for us with my husband’s erratic work schedule so I cherish the weekends for family dinners. But even during the week, I try to maintain a routine for the kids and me and try to have dinner at the same hour every night. My kids are 4 and 6 and are eager to help me out with dinner. They have been “helping” me since they were 3.  Here are a few tips that I found helpful:

1 – Enlist the kids early!

They are eager and willing to help especially with “grown-up” tasks. Helping with mealtime doesn’t always mean prepping or cooking, but can include setting and clearing the table, and putting away dishes.  When my kids were younger and not able to reach the counter, I put a plastic bin on the floor next to the kitchen sink so they could easily put away the dishes. This is a tip I borrowed from their daycare!

2 – Start with easy tasks.

Cutting tofu is great! All it takes is a butter knife to cut through it. Tearing lettuce leaves, stripping herbs from its stem, or helping you pour in ingredients. You can move onto cracking eggs (this is a big sought after task) and cutting vegetables. I found that because they are so eager to help, they do listen to directions and are very cautious when I explain a task that is a little more adventurous, like working near a stove or cutting, or working with raw meat. Once you’re clear with them, then the process is less stressful.

3 – Relax and have fun!

Don’t stress out! Easier said than done, right? I admit this took me a while since I’m such a control freak in the kitchen. But once they get used to being in the kitchen, it gets easier and much more fun!

Now my kids are still young so it’s still a work-in-progress in our household, but I do want my children to be comfortable in the kitchen, know what they are eating, and learn to make good decisions when it comes to food and health. I’m also a firm believer that dinner time is family time.

pork chops and sauerkraut

Braised Pork Chops and Sauerkraut #SundaySupper #FamilyDinnerTable
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simple hearty dish. Mashed sweet potatoes go perfectly with this dish!
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: German
Serves: 4
  • 4 1-inch thick bone-in pork chops
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Cooking oil
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds of sauerkraut, drained
  1. In a large sealable food storage bag, dissolve salt and sugar in 3 cups water. This is your brine. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, place the pork chops in the brine. Seal the bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chops and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the chops. Sear the first side for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops and sear for another minute or so. Smother the chops with the drained sauerkraut. Cover the skillet, lower the heat to medium and cook for about another 5-7 minutes.
  4. Uncover and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Let the liquid in the pan evaporate and allow the sauerkraut to caramelize a bit. To double-check that the pork is cooked, make sure the internal temperature reaches 145° F.
  5. To serve, place the pork chops on a large platter and cover them with the sauerkraut. Serve warm!

The Sunday Supper Team is partnering up with American Family Insurance and sharing their favorite childhood meals and memories with us this week.  Our contributors will also be sharing tips to encourage families to rediscover the power of family meals.  Here is what everyone is bringing to the #FamilyDinnerTable:


But wait there’s more!

American Family Insurance is having a “Share Your Recipe” sweepstakes for 6 weeks with a weekly prize is a $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card plus a grand prize of a $500 Williams-Sonoma gift card. For details, click on the icon below.

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This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.

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  • Liz

    Yeah, this is a dish from my childhood and the hubby’s childhood as well. Both of us have German ancestry. I could eat this for breakfast!!! You are going to the IFBC, right? See you soon!!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes, I’ve learned that this is a German dish. I love the tang from the sauerkraut. It reminds me of kimchi! I mean, they’re both fermented cabbage, right?

      Unfortunately I’m not attending IFBC…I wish I were!

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  • Family Foodie

    I love your tips for families with little ones! My how times have changed. Can you imagine calling your husband at the office and demanding that he come home by 5pm? I too grew up with dinner on the table at 5 every night.

    • kimchi_mom

      I know! During the weeks my husband is travelling, we will Facetime during dinner! Sad, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

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  • Hezzi-D

    My mom always used to make pork and sauerkraut but I haven’t had it in years. I definitely need to put it on the menu!

    • kimchi_mom

      Me too. I need to include this on my menu more often!

  • Renee Dobbs

    My dad is the one who cooked during the week. He got home first and had dinner ready when my mom got home. Dinner was also at 5:00. Pork chops and sauerkraut was one of the meals he would make and I still make it today. Believe it or not, I just made it recently with a side of sweet potatoes so your photo made me smile.

    • kimchi_mom

      The sweet potatoes are such a great complement to the dish!

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  • Cindys Recipes

    We didn’t have a strict dinnertime, but I’m PA Dutch and Pork and Sauerkraut was on the table every New Year’s Day for “good luck”. I love it!

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  • supperforasteal

    I have wanted to try this since Renee posted a recipe and I still never have. Now that both of you have posted a recipe I’m pretty sure I need to get on it.

    • kimchi_mom

      Super simple! Do it! :-)

  • Shannon

    Caramelized sauerkraut?! I have to try this. My boys like doing their homework in the kitchen at the island as I am cooking too. It is such a great way to connect and just be together.

    • kimchi_mom

      I agree! Any time together in the kitchen is good!

  • Jen @JuanitasCocina

    I am literally drooling over that sauerkraut! Must. make. this. NOW!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Jen!

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  • Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    “We had dinner at 5:00 every night. If my dad wasn’t home by 4:55, my mom would order me to call him at his office and tell him to come home for dinner.”

    This made me smile, because this was my family, too! We also lived in a small town, and yes, dinner was at 5pm! It’s funny to think about now, because my husband and I are lucky to have dinner on the table by 7:30 or 8!

    GREAT tips to get kids in the kitchen, Amy!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Lori! Yes, now with the kids’ schedule, our meal times are a little erratic. I didn’t do a quarter of the stuff they’re doing now and they’re only 6 and 4.5! Times were much simpler back then…gawd, I sound old!

      • Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

        Haha no, I totally get it! I thought I was a pretty active little kid, but really – I was just running around the neighorhood playing in piles of dirt. It was pretty easy to get me home for dinner :)

  • Constance

    My mom didn’t let me do much in the kitchen growing up either. The most I ever really did was grate cheese, chop peppers, tear bread for stuffing at Thanksgiving, or stir something she had going on the stove while she worked on something else. When I got older, I started baking cookies on my own, but that was it. I took a cooking & nutrition class one semester in high school, and from that point on was self-taught.
    Now about your dish – I LOVE pork and sauerkraut! That is something my mom made well when I was a kid. I loved it then, and my whole family loves it now. I make mine different but it is certainly a family favorite!

    • kimchi_mom

      I watched my mom often…very closely. Also watched a lot of Julia and Wok with Yan (Canadian show). And after a home ec class in jr. high, I wanted to try to cook everything and anything.

      I love that you teach home ec as a homeschool teacher. Home ec and all the other vocational classes that have become nonexistent need to come back. Life skills is all part of learning!

  • Heather

    Great tips, Amy! And I love your memory of this dish…and such a delicious dish it is. :)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Heather!

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  • Helene Dsouza

    I grew up with this food, pork chops and sauerkraut. At the side we would have knödel (dumplings) and some sausages sometimes. Wish this was my dinner right now!

    • kimchi_mom

      Wow…a side of sausages with pork chops?! That’s a really hearty meal!

  • Beate @ The Not So Cheesy Kitc

    You made Kassler Ripple mit Sauerkraut. Yay :)
    I agree with you on the importance of getting kids in the kitchen early.

    • kimchi_mom

      Wow, it sounds much better in German! :-)

  • littleredkitchen

    I was going to say, this looks a little more German than Korean but that’s awesome your mom switched things up. It also looks like you had a pretty ridged dinner schedule, but it’s nice you all ate together.

    • kimchi_mom

      Yeah, the more memorable dishes were the my mom’s venture into other cuisines! LOVED (most) of them!

  • Alice Choi

    hey Amy!
    I love this! and wow, love how your family always ate together like clockwork! that is really awesome! Now, we are the same way. . since my husband’s work schedule doesn’t always allow him to come home on time but I am the same way with the girls, making sure WE at least have a normal routine for dinner with the 3 of us when Paul can’t make it home in time. Love how you said your mom got the recipe from one of your neighbors down the street :) come to think of it, my parents never cooked food that was not Korean food. . it was our nanny that made “American” food for us :) . . love this recipe . . looks delicious!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Alice! I feel a regular schedule is much needed with kids. My husband travels a lot too so he sometimes Facetimes during dinner. Sometimes it works, sometimes not-so-much!

  • Chef Di

    Sounds like dinner at my house growing up! Everyone around the table, even though honestly as I kid I sometimes dreaded it… I now appreciate it so much! Great recipe :-)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! I know, there were times when I just didn’t want to be at dinner! Those were the days when I had to leave a friend’s house early!

  • The Ninja Baker

    Cutting tofu with a butter knife. Love it! <3 the recipe, too.

    • kimchi_mom

      My daughter loves helping in the kitchen! And she has really good fine motor skills! Perhaps a future surgeon? Chef? 😉

  • cupcakekalechip

    My 3 year old loves to crack eggs! Though he isn’t that attentive about knives or raw meat yet, so I have to keep him away. I have to try cooking pork chops like this!

    • kimchi_mom

      It’s so fun to see them crack eggs! My kids get such a kick out of it! They could crack eggs ALL DAY.

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  • Karen Hartzell

    I love pork chops and sauerkraut, yet we rarely make them! That needs to change! I love getting the kids in the kitchen early too! Makes them more adventurous eaters as well as big helpers!

    • kimchi_mom

      On a whim I looked up the nutritional values of a pork chop and the amount of cholesterol in a lean pork chop is equal to a serving of chicken breast! I keep forgetting about “the other white meat”!

  • Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

    The caramelized sauerkraut sounds delicious!

  • theurbanmrs

    Yummy! I love pork chops and sauerkraut. You really had an early dinner. We usually had it at 7pm or 6.30 the earliest, but yay to family dinner.

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