I can't believe another year has passed! It's been a wild ride, starting up Slow Brine, setting up shop at farmers' markets each week, meeting so many great folks, and producing fermented foods for our community. I'm learning so much, and looking forward to a great 2018. This year, we plan to ring in the holiday at home with family, but before I look forward, I want to share a bit about new year's day, 2017. We rang in 2017 with friends, one of whom shared her family's tradition of preparing pork with sauerkraut on January 1st. She said the meal is traditional and meant to bring good luck for the year ahead.
The tradition has German roots, and here in the states is especially prevalent in Pennsylvania and Ohio--areas with large German populations. The rotund nature of the beast (pigs, that is) symbolizes prosperity. Pigs also forage forward for food, and don't look back (I also read that they physically can't turn their heads to look back, but I don't know enough about pigs to confirm) -- I like the idea of celebrating forward thinking in the new year. Greens, including cabbage, also symbolize wealth, and are a traditional part of many cultural new year's traditions.
This is more of a concept (a delicious concept) than a recipe. Tailor it to your needs and your taste, and have a prosperous 2018.
Lucky New Year's Day Pork and Sauerkraut
2-3 pounds pork (try a mix of loin, country ribs, spare ribs, chops or sausages)
32 ounces sauerkraut (2 jars of Slow Brine Seed & Salt would do the trick!)
Pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth or water
Optional add-ins include:
1 tablespoon or so of caraway seeds
1-2 thinly sliced apples
A glug (or more) of riesling
1 thinly sliced onion (caramelized or not)
Brown the meat first if you wish. Then choose your appliance. I like a slow cooker, but you could easily do this on the stovetop, or in a pressure cooker if you wish. Start with a layer of sauerkraut at the bottom of the pot, then continue to layer in the pork, making sure that the pork is all nestled into the kraut. Top it all off with a layer of kraut on top, and pour over the broth or water. In a slow cooker, this can cook for 8 hours on low, or until the meat is tender. A few hours under a somewhat watchful eye on the stovetop would also do the trick! Serve with mashed potatoes, over rice, or pasta, or, simply as it is.
P.S. Not a meat eater? I bet this would be great with some sliced potatoes and wild mushrooms subbed in for the pork. Honestly, for Slow Brine, it's all about the kraut.