Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pork, Sauerkraut, and Potato Dumplings

My family is mostly German and Bohemian.  My Grandma Bettlach made this every Sunday for her family.  So, of course I grew up with this meal and my family certainly has enjoyed it as well.
My sons ask for it for their birthday meals.

Although my favorite pork cut is a fresh picnic roast, sometimes called a pork Callie, this cut is a large roast from the shoulder area of the hog.  For a smaller gathering I have used a Pork Tenderloin or even a  pork loin roast.  Both of these last two cuts will be much leaner.  The best part of using the fresh picnic is the rind that gets crispy when cooked.  As kids, all five siblings fought for pieces, as did my dad.  YUM.

Fresh Picnic Roast - approximately 8 lbs.
Season with Salt, Pepper and 1/4 Cup Caraway seed

3 lbs. Potatoes, peeled and cut up.
3-4 lbs flour for dumplings
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 large onion
Sauerkraut in a bag - Flanagan's or Frank's
1/2 Cup oil
1/4 cup flour - Sauerkraut

Rub Caraway, salt and pepper on roast.
In a large Dutch oven or pan, cook roast skin side up, with no lid. until meat reaches a temperature of 160 degrees.
I like to start from a frozen state in a 350 degree oven for a total of 7-8 hours.  This ensures the skin is always crispy.  If roast is thawed, cook at 300 for about 6 hours.

For Sauerkraut
Drain most, but not all, of juice from package.
Place in a sauce pan and cover with water.
Add 2 TBL caraway seed.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour, you may need to add more water while cooking.
To make sauce for the sauerkraut;
In a skillet, sauté chopped onion in oil until browned.
Add up to 1/2 Cup flour to onions to thicken to desired consistency.
Add to sauerkraut. Keep on warm till the pork and dumplings are ready.

For the Dumplings
While the sauerkraut is cooking, cook and mash potatoes using only salt and butter; NO milk.
After the potatoes cool, put two cups of flour on the counter top and put potatoes on top of flour.
Add one large egg and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Mix and kneed potatoes and flour, adding a cup of flour at a time until the potatoes are no longer sticky to the touch.  Roll into a long log or two, and cut into balls about 2 inches wide. Cook in boiling salted water, stirring to loosen from bottom, until they float, about 15 minutes.

When I started this blog on Monday, it made me really hungry for this recipe.  So I bought the ingredients and invited my son and his girlfriend to join me for dinner.  I chose two small pork tenderloins instead of a large roast.  I also purchased McCormick's Pork Gravy mix, since my tenderloins would not give me any drippings.

The Sauerkraut needs to cook for an hour.
The onions need about 15 minutes to brown and thicken.
The potatoes need 15-20 minutes to boil in salted water.  Then a little longer to cool.
I cooked the two pork tenderloins for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

It didn't take long to brown the onions.  Then, depending on how much oil you start with, determine how much flour to add to thicken the onions.  Then add to the sauerkraut.

Making the dumplings, start with plenty of flour, add the baking powder, add the cooled and mashed (with butter) potatoes, add one egg, and begin to kneed until the dough holds together and is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.  Be careful not to add too much flour though, or the dumpling with be too firm.

Roll into a long rope or log, about two inches wide and then cut about two inches in length.  Roll into balls.  Drop into boiling salted water for 10 - 15 minutes.  Stir with a wooden spoon to keep from sticking on the bottom of the pan.  The dumplings will float when they're done.  Three large potatoes made 19 dumplings.  Two large potatoes would have been plenty for three adults.

Our dinner was delicious!.  Everything goes well together.  And you'll find that your bites must come out even when you get to the end of the meal or you must get more.  You'll see what I mean when you make this.

I must add, this meal grows on you.  Some people don't like it the first time they try it.  Or they don't think they will.  Maybe it's the strong caraway seasoning.  Or they think the sauerkraut will be too tangy, which it's not at all.

If you try this recipe. please let me know what you think!  ~ Shelly

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