Pressure Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut
It’s New Year’s – time for Pork and Sauerkraut.
I’m an American mutt, with German and French in my family tree. Maybe that explains why pork and sauerkraut is a favorite of mine. It pulls my whole family history together.
*Which is odd, because I didn’t have pork and sauerkraut until I spent New Year’s Day with my wife’s family. But that’s a different story.
Choucroute Garnie is the traditional dish of Alsace, the section of France that sticks into Germany. Alsace switched back and forth between Germany and France during the wars between the 13th century and 20th century. When the Germans won the war, the border was the Vosges mountains to the west of Alsace; when the French won the war, the border was the Rhine river to the east. Alsatian cuisine represents that blend – it is a lot heavier on the sauerkraut than the rest of France.
Now, the full-on version of Choucroute Garnie is delicious, and worth all the work. Sometimes I need a sauerkraut fix, though, so here is my short-cut version, using the pressure cooker.
*No pressure cooker? No worries. See the Notes section for stove top directions.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut
Adapted From: Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect
Cooking time: 60 minutes
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (larger is better – this recipe barely fit into my 6 quart Instant Pot Electric PC)
- 1 slab spareribs, cut into 3 rib sections
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 lbs fresh sauerkraut, rinsed & drained
- 2 tablespoons lard (or vegetable oil)
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10 juniper berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dry Riesling (or any dry, non-oaky white wine)
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and minced (preferably tart apples like a granny smith)
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock, or water
- 1 pound smoked ham hock
Condiments and side dishes:
- Assorted mustards (Dijon, horseradish, and grainy mustard are my favorite choices)
- Cornichons (French style gherkin pickles)
- Rye bread
- Boiled white potatoes sprinkled with salt and parsley
1. Prep the Pork and Sauerkraut
Sprinkle the pork ribs with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon brown sugar, then set aside to rest. Rinse the sauerkraut in a large colander, then press down on the sauerkraut to squeeze out the excess water.
2. Saute the Aromatics
Heat the 2 teaspoons of lard in the pressure cooker pot over medium high heat until it melts. Add the onions, garlic, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Sprinkle with the pepper, coriander, and salt, then stir to coat with the fat. Saute until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Fill the pot
Add the Riesling to the pot, and bring to a boil. Stir in the sauerkraut, apples, and chicken stock. Submerge the ham hock and the ribs as much as you can in the sauerkraut.
4. Pressure cook the pork and sauerkraut
Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring it to high pressure, and pressure cook for 25 minutes. (30 minutes in an electric pressure cooker). Quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid from the pressure cooker, tilting away from you to avoid the hot steam.
5. Mix and serve
Remove the ham hock and the ribs to a carving board. Discard the bay leaves. Shred the ham hock, discarding the bones and any large hunks of gristle, then stir the shredded meat into the sauerkraut. Cut the ribs into 1 bone serving pieces. Scoop the sauerkraut out of the pot with a slotted spoon, leaving behind most of the liquid. Serve, passing the condiments on the side.
- No pressure cooker? No problem. Use a large dutch oven, and follow the instructions through step 3. Then, instead of pressure cooking in step 4, cover the pot and put it in a 350°F oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the pork ribs are tender. Continue with Mix and Serve in step 5.
- Boiled white potatoes: Peel 2 pounds of red-skin potatoes and cut into 2 inch pieces. Put in a medium pot, cover with water, and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes, toss with melted butter, sprinkle with some parsley, and serve.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.
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