Pork and Sauerkraut, a family tradition

My Pennsylvania dutch grandmother chuckled at me when I mentioned that I was going to ferment cabbage and make sauerkraut. She exclaimed, “Why I never heard of such a thing. I always use that canned sauerkraut and it tasted good!” So, the canned version gets Grammy’s stamp of approval but that doesn’t mean I can’t give fermented cabbage a try. Also, Katz in Wild Fermentation suggests this task for beginning fermenters and laid out easy steps for preparation. I previously described the flavor of the kraut at Day 10, on Day 25 it wore its familiar cloak of sour taste and crispy texture. Good raw as well as cooked.

Pork and Sauerkraut
-2lbs pork shoulder (boneless) -purchased at my farmer’s market from Mint Creek Farms (IL)
-small golden potatoes (maybe 15)
-4 C. of sauerkraut (combo of red and green cabbage)
-1 onion
-1 celery stalk
-1 pear
-1 22oz beer
-caraway seeds
-juniper berries
-peppercorns
-dill seed and celery seed were also recommended but I didn’t use

Brine
-1 C. salt to 2 quarts water
-1/4C. juniper berries
-4T. caraway seeds
-2T. peppercorns
-2T. herbs de provence
-boil these all together and then cool liquid before submerging pork and leaving for 8-12hrs. in fridge

Mashed potatoes
-Boiled potatoes (also potatoes from slow cooker)
-mustard
-olive oil
-butter
-garlic
-caraway seeds

Pork prep:
-I made the brine one day prior and let the pork soak in it overnight.
-In late morning of dinner day, I dried off pork and seared the outside to keep juices inside while cooking.

Slow Cooker prep:
-In the bottom of the slow cooker, I placed the sliced onion, chopped celery and sliced pear.
-Then I added juniper berries, caraway seeds, and peppercorns (in reasonable amounts?…)
-I placed as many potatoes as I could fit around the edge of the pot (I had to boil all the others before making the mashed potatoes)
-I added some sauerkraut on top and then placed the pork roast on that
-I tucked sauerkraut all around the pork and on top and poured 1/2C. of the fermentation saltwater over it
-Lastly I poured in one 22oz beer which brought liquid level almost to top and then sealed the pot
-Cooked for 3 hrs on high and 3 hrs on low, the pork was well above the 160F internal cooked temp when finished

Mashed potatoes finishing
-My roommate, Meghan, skillfully mashed the boiled and slow cooked potatoes.
-In a small frying pan, I combined 3T. olive oil with 3T. butter and 1T caraway seeds and 1 garlic clove sliced thinly. Let simmer until garlic started to brown and the smell of caraway seeds filled the air.
-Added hot oil/garlic mix to the mashed potatoes, 3T. mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Easy and yummy, no milk version.

At the end, some Russian’s best bread from a local bakery, beer (a la Jenny) and organic apple sauce from Trader Joe’s rounded out a very hardy meal.

Nestled for its slow cook.

Potatoes should take up half the plate, right?

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