smoked pork chops in Weinkraut; cress; roasted radishes

We both agreed that this was absolutely the most delicious smoked pork we had ever had – in any form. I’d say it was almost entirely about the virtue of the supplier, Flying Pigs Farm, but I would also have to add that, over time, I’ve learned a little about how to best enjoy this wonderful butchers’ creation.

It’s also astonishingly easy to do. To put it as simply as possible, find the best smoked pork chops you can (like Flying Pigs Farm or Millport Dairy in the Union Square Greenmarket, Ottomanelli’s on Bleecker Street in the West Village, Schaller & Weber on Second Avenue and 86th Street, Dickson Farm Stand in the Chelsea Market) and some good pre-packaged sauerkraut (in a jar or plastic bag), and you’re already halfway there.

There are almost an infinite number of dishes to accompany this classic, although only a very few are classics themselves. Last night I went with the non-classics, but I stuck with a classic wine.

  • * one 16-ounce glass jar of sauerkraut (simply cabbage and salt) from Millport Dairy Farm, drained and very well-rinsed in several changes of cold water, drained once again and placed inside an enameled cast iron oval covered pot with one chopped sweet yellow onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, one cored, peeled, chopped  ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ apple from Samascott Orchards, one cup of an Oregon (Illinois Valley) white, Foris Wine Shop Dry Gewürztraminer 20168, 9 smashed whole juniper berries, and about the same number of whole black peppercorns, a little salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil, all brought to a boil, simmered over a low flame, stirring occasionally, for less than half an hour, covered, and then uncovered for 20 or 25 minutes more, and near the end of that time joined by two 9-ounce smoked pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm that had been thoroughly dried and then briefly seared on both sides inside an enameled cast iron pan with a little olive oil and butter, slightly buried in the sauerkraut where they were heated for 10 or 15 minutes, the chops and sauerkraut then arranged on 2 plates
  • * a small amount of wild cress from Lani’s Farm, dressed with olive oil, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
  • * most of 2 bunches of French breakfast radishes from Eckerton Hill Farm, all that remained from two earlier meals where some had been used as simple crudités, washed, the green stems and little white ‘tails’ removed tossed in a bowl with a little, olive oil, a pinch of dried golden habanada pepper, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then roasted for 20 to 25 minutes or so, at 375º, inside a medium Pampered Chef unglazed pan
  • * the wine was spot on for this meal, a German (Pfalz) white, Friedrich Becker Pinot Blanc 2013, that had remained from a purchase some time ago from our very-much-missed former neighborhood wine shop, Appellation Wine & Spirits
  • the music was Francesco Maria Veracini‘s 1735 London opera, ‘Adriano In Siria‘, Fabio Biondi conducting the ensemble, Europa Galante