Friday, February 26, 2016

Pork Hocks und Weinsauerkraut

     Schweinshaxe und Weinsauerkraut!
     Country style food is a recurring theme in every cuisine around the globe.  Country style food tends to be hearty simple food that is served up family style.  Big platters of food are placed on the table and everybody helps themselves to big hearty portions. 
     The problem is that not everybody lives with a big family on a farm in the country.  This does not mean that an individual has to take a pass on cooking up good old fashioned simple country style food.  All it takes is scaling back the amount of food that is cooked, but few want to do baker's math.  This is why I usually write single portion recipes and when it comes to country style food, the portion size is enough to satisfy!         
     Yes, there is plenty of farm country in Germany and there is plenty country style food that is served in heaping portions.  Sauerkraut and secondary pork cuts or sausage are a main staple in German farm country style cuisine.  Just like in America, pork hocks (ham hocks) are simple everyday country folk food.     
     The health benefits of eating sauerkraut is well known.  Sauerkraut helps to fight off colds and influenza, just like Korean Cabbage Kimchi.  Wine Packed Sauerkraut is not salty or sweet.  It has a very gentle flavor.  Wine packed sauerkraut is usually sold in glass jars and the juice in the jar actually tastes good enough to flavor other food preparations. 

     Pork Hocks und Weinsauerkraut:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
     Pork Hocks are not cured or smoked.  Hocks are usually the knee joint section of the hind legs or cross sections of the upper fore legs.  
     A whole pork hock can be rather large.  Some butchers (especially at Asian butcher shops) will cut extra meaty pork hocks through the bone, so each slice is less than 1/2" thick.  This style of pork hock cut was used to make today's recipe.  As one can see, there is plenty of meat on Asian style pork hocks.       
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 slice of smoked bacon that coarsely chopped.
     Sauté the bacon till a small amount of grease is rendered and the bacon starts to become crisp.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of Wine Packed Sauerkraut with its own juices.  (Wine Packed Sauerkraut does not need to be rinsed with water!)
     Add 6 thick pieces carrot that are 1" long.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper.
     Gently simmer the wine packed weinsauerkraut mixture till it becomes hot.
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Mound the weinsauerkraut in a shallow single portion casserole dish.  Try to expose the carrot pieces on the surface.
     Step 4:  Select 2 fresh pork hock slices that are about 1/2" thick.  (The pork hock slices should weigh about 8 ounces apiece, because they are nearly 50% bone.)
     Place the pork hocks on the sauerkraut.  
     Place 1 slice of Bermuda Onion (about 1/4" thick) on top of the bone on each pork hock.
     Step 5:  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of marjoram over each pork hock.
     Place 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter on the slice of onion on each pork hock.
     Step 6:  Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil.  
     Bake in a 300ºF oven till the pork hocks are fully cooked and the meat starts to become tender.
     Step 7:  Remove the lid.
     Continue baking till the onion and pork hocks are lightly browned.  
     Step 8:  Place the casserole dish on a doily lined serving plate.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with a potato of your choice on the side.
     *Serve with Bavarian style bread too! 

     A nice simple German country style entrée for a chilly day!  

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