I still remember my mom making this dish early in the day and smelling the sauerkraut and pork simmering on the stove. This is one of my favorite German dishes and still one of my favorite ways to eat sauerkraut. If you want more probiotic goodness from the kraut, only add half the kraut when you boil the dish and then add the rest just before serving. I personally don't care about that aspect of the dish and have never done it that way. You can also make this meal in the crockpot. Be sure to brown the ribs and then layer the rest of the ingredients. You won't need as much liquid, if any extra when you use a slow-cooker.
1 package (about 3 pounds) bone-in or boneless country spare ribs
1 large onion, sliced
32 oz. sauerkraut (homemade or a good store-bought one like the kind in the refrigerated section)
1 head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), washed, cored and thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 apple, peeled and cored, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water as needed
In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and brown ribs. Add onion about half-way through and brown until almost caramelized. About 1 minute before adding other ingredients, add the garlic and give a good stir until fragrant. Salt and pepper the ribs as you cook them. Don't be afraid to use plenty of salt. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits. Add liquid from sauerkraut and more water, if needed. Liquid should be boiling. Turn to medium-low heat and add apple and cabbage. Make sure there is enough liquid so cabbage can cook down. Bring ribs to the top of the pan so they don't burn. Cover Dutch oven with lid and steam cabbage until it is wilted and then salt and pepper again. Add sauerkraut on top of ribs, making sure the ribs are simmering in the liquid. Liquid should be about halfway up the Dutch oven.
Turn stove to low, simmer, covered until meat is very tender and cabbage is cooked down (it will look a lot like the sauerkraut). Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove meat (it should be falling off the bones) and take out the bones and fat and cartilage, leaving pork as chunky as possible.
At this point, you can continue to simmer or turn o
ff and reheat or eat immediately. If you like caraway seed, you can add that when you add the raw cabbage. I wouldn't add more than a teaspoon unless you really love the taste of caraway seed!
Serve with boiled potatoes that have been buttered and seasoned with salt and pepper or make a big pot of mashed potatoes and serve it with that. Serve in a bowl and make sure you get some of the cooking liquid as "gravy" on the potatoes (not too much or they get watered down).
NOTE: You can use all sauerkraut with this dish. I added the cabbage because I love the taste of the cabbage with the kraut. This dish is great as leftovers too!