It”s been a very cold time down here in the Hinterlands. We have had record low in the single degree range to bring in our New Year. I hope the Polar “Express” was not to disruptive for you and that you are heading up in temps where you are. On Monday this past week it was 7, and on Saturday it was 61…..The saying down here is “If you don’t like the weather wait……It will change”.
So, given that we are in such a weather changeable area I though I would share a get you warm family comfort food dish I grew up with. Around my house on New Years Day mom would cook sauerkraut with a pork backbone in it with mashed potatoes, collard greens and black-eyed peas. She would cook the sauerkraut in the oven and let me tell you this is nothing like the kraut you put on your hot dogs. This is warm, full of flavor and it re-heats well for left overs. I have adapted this to the slow cooker because it seems to bring out the pork flavor and being able to set this up to cook unattended while everything else is going on is also a plus.
I have cooked this with many different cuts of pork, my main consideration is that what ever meat cut I use I try to insure that there is a a little extra fat to help the meal along. If you use a leaner cut of meat you can use bacon drippings to add that rich flavor. I also use Maggie seasoning (Maggie), which is that little bit of magic mother use to cook with…LOL.
So with that out of the way lets get started:
I use the 6 qt Slow-cooker.
2 to 3 lbs of country ribs ( You can use pork back bone, spare ribs or a pork roast.)
2 16 oz packages of quality sauerkraut. (You may want to buy an extra just in case you want more leftovers.)
Whole pepper Corns — This is one of those add it till it looks right ingredients.
Maggi (or bullion) — This is one of those add it till it looks right ingredients.
1 medium onion sliced
1 to 2 medium sized granny smith apples, sliced (tart green apples)
Apple cider vinegar (This is a may add ingredient.)
We are going to layer the ingredients so that we get the maximum saturation of pork to sauerkraut
First rinse the sauerkraut to reduce the salt and sharp flavor. Place 1/3 of the kraut in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with ½ Tbsp. Maggie (or bullion), 1 Tbsp. of the pepper corns, 1/3 of the onion slices, ½ of an apple, and ½ the pork. Repeat for the next layer. Use the remaining kraut to cover the pork. Cook on high for 2 hours then reduce to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Taste the kraut about 4 hours into the cook and if it tastes too bland (for you), add ¼ cup of the apple cider vinegar to bump up the flavor to suit you.
Serve with mashed or whipped potatoes on the side. You can add a green vegetable if you want.
This has always been a big hit with guests that we have shared it with. It is a easy meal to fix in the Slow cooker and really great on those cold days when you just need to warm up.
Take care and I will see you next week