November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Sauerkraut


Ingredients:
28 oz sauerkraut
1 thick cut boneless pork chop (about 1/4 lb)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 large shallot, diced

Directions:
Place the sauerkraut, shallot, horseradish, sugar, vinegar and spices in a 2 or 4 quart slow cooker. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Add the pork chop and cover in sauerkraut. Cook on low 8 hours or 4 hours on high. The pork should be easily shredded with a fork. Shred the meat and stir. Serve hot.
My thoughts:
One of the (many) little quirks of living in Baltimore is that we always eat sauerkraut with our Thanksgiving meal. I was in college before I realized that this practice was unique to Baltimore and that not everyone in country ate sauerkraut with their turkey. It dates back to the days when there was large number of German immigrants in the city. I think it stayed a staple because it is just so good with poultry. The salty, pickled flavor cuts through the sweet and richness of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. My family has only served plain sauerkraut (either homemade or commercially prepared) but this year I thought I'd splash out and make something a little different. So I created this recipe.

Perhaps surprisingly, the red wine vinegar makes the sauerkraut slightly sweet and less puckeringly sour. I like mustard seed with my sauerkraut rather than the traditional caraway seed, I think the flavor melds better and the mustard seeds have a softer texture. The pork chop makes it taste more robust but leaving it out would make this a delicious (vegan) side dish.