My mother is from Wisconsin and my family still has a summer house near Green Bay. As a result I’ve grown up with a lot of pork and sauerkraut in my life. This dish brings together both ingredients in a very grown-up way and it’s one of my fall favorites.
The apples I use for roasting are Pink Pearl because of their sweet-tart flavor and beautiful bright pink interior. Small Lady Apples work well too and you don’t have to peel them before roasting. The best sauerkraut comes from Happy Girl Kitchen Co. I use a mix of their green and purple versions in the smashed potatoes to match the color of the apples.
Active Time: 1½ hours
1 3-lb pork loin, trimmed and cut into 4 1½-inch steaks
¾ cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground juniper berries
8 Pink Pearl apples, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup apple cider
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large thyme sprig
Sauerkraut Smashed Potatoes
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in half or quarters if large
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup purple sauerkraut – Happy Girl Kitchen Co. if possible
½ cup green sauerkraut – Happy Girl Kitchen Co. if possible
Drizzle the pork with ¼ cup olive oil and rub on both sides to coat. Mix the herbs, salt and ground juniper berries together and press all sides of the meat. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature or marinate overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Place the apples in a roasting pan with the remaining ingredients. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through but still firm. Remove from the braising liquid, loosely cover and let rest until serving. Strain the liquid into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium and simmer until reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.
Sauerkraut Smashed Potatoes
Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of cold, salted water. Cook until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the potatoes through a colander and put them back in the pot. Add the butter, whole milk, whole grain mustard and salt and coarsely smash. Gently fold in the sauerkraut and keep warm until ready to use.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with ½ cup olive oil. Sear the pork until golden and crispy, 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Place on a baking sheet and finish the pork in the oven, roasting for 5 to 8 minutes or until the pork has an internal temperature of 150° F. Cover and let rest for at least 5 minutes, the temperature will rise to 155° F.
Place a large spoonful of smashed potatoes on each plate and top with a piece of pork. Pour some of the braising liquid over the pork and add two apples to each plate. Garnish with a fresh sage leaf.