Pork and Sauerkraut – a PA Dutch favorite and traditional New Years Day meal. This is my Polish grandmom’s extra special version.
Pork and Sauerkraut. It’s a traditional New Years Day meal in these parts. I love pork, I love sauerkraut and I love the combination. Thing is though, it has to be made right – nothing worse then tough pork with sauerkraut straight from the can dumped on top of it. When a little love and effort is put into it you’ll find this to be a dish you enjoy eating year round.
My grandmother Halina was born in Dzisna, Poland. Difficult circumstances combined with the kindness of others brought her to the United States in her late teens. Halina was an amazing woman. Strong, beautiful, hard working, dedicated and an inspiration to me in many ways. She passed away on Valentine’s Day this year. Loss is always difficult, as were the past few years of her life. I try not to think about the past few years so much and instead celebrate her 83 years of life.
Halina was a great cook. She could make something out of anything. She could make something out of almost nothing – hard times had called for it. I grew up enjoying many of her Polish dishes. Thoughts of her galumpkis and homemade perogies will forever make me smile. She also made the BEST pork and sauerkraut I’ve ever had. A little ‘TLC” made all the difference in the world.
Her method – she “dressed up” the sauerkraut. She preferred the bagged stuff but would make do with whatever if need be so. She would dump the sauerkraut into a colander, rinse it and squeeze all the liquid out a few times. Then she would add it to a frying pan filled with buttery golden brown onions and would fry it all together. All that buttery sauerkraut goodness would go on top of a pork roast and into a low oven until fall apart tender.
Her simple method transformed the sauerkraut into far more then just plain “sour cabbage”. The butter and golden brown onions give almost a richness to it. Suddenly you realize you’re not scraping all the sauerkraut off to the side – you actually find yourself wanting more sauerkraut than pork. Who would have known a Polish immigrant named Halina knew the secret to making greatness of sauerkraut?
I serve this up with spaetzle. Pork, sauerkraut and spaetzle – that’s a plate with some serious yum factor. Pork and sauerkraut is traditionally served over mashed potatoes but also goes well with buttered noodles or any kind of potatoes.
Not a day goes by that I won’t think of my grandmother. I celebrate her life and the time I had with her. I’m thankful that as I got older I watched and helped her work in the kitchen. Her simplistic approach to food and cooking will always inspire me. I do hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Happy Cooking.
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pound bag of sauerkraut (if you like lots of kraut you may want to use an additional 1-2 pounds)
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder/butt roast
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 250
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a saute pan.
- Add onions and saute until golden brown, about 10- 15 minutes.
- Empty sauerkraut into a colander. Rinse it and squeeze out all the liquid a few times. Set aside.
- Add garlic to onions, saute for a minute or two.
- Add sauerkraut to saute pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, mixing often, until everything is well blended. Add a bit more butter if mixture seems too dry.
- Generously salt and pepper all sides of a pork roast. Place into a roasting pan. Spoon sauerkraut over roast. Cover with lid and cook for 5-6 hours or until pork is fork tender. If using a lean roast, check pan after an hour. If everything seems to be drying out, add a cup of water.
- When pork is tender, shred/chunk pork, remove any bones, salt & pepper to taste and mix pork and sauerkraut together.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, spaetzle, noodles or potato chunks. Enjoy : )