4 pork hocks
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp coarse salt
12 oz beer
1/2 small white cabbage head
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
Ask any German what they want for dinner and they will likely say, “Pork… maybe some Kraut!” Sauerkraut is one of the most popular foods in all of Germany – made popular in times of war, when vegetables were scarce and they had to preserve what they had. Now sauerkraut it one of the national dishes in Germany, served with soups, salads, potatoes, sausage… and of course… pork knuckle!
These days sauerkraut is praised worldwide for its nutritional value and adding to gut flora, but for a long time, it was only enjoyed by Germans. Every German household has its own recipe, and although it takes a while to prepare, you will find that nothing compares to homemade!
For the Pork Knuckle:
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a baking dish.
- Rub the skin of each pork hock with half of a garlic clove. After rubbing, add the garlic to the onions in the baking dish. Rub roughly 1/2 Tbsp of salt into the skin of each pork hock. Nestle the hocks, meaty side down, in the onions.
- Pour the beer around the hocks.
- Roast the hocks in the preheated oven for 3 hours, until the skin is crisp and the meat is fall-apart tender. (Check the hocks every hour to be sure they haven’t fallen over and there is still enough moisture in the bottom of the pan)
- Each hock is traditionally served individually, with a fork and sharp knife, but most people find it easier to enjoy the crisp skin by just digging in with their hands.
- Serve with sauerkraut or other side dishes such as boiled potatoes, potato dumplings, spaetzle, or braised red cabbage.
For the Homemade Sauerkraut:
- In a large bowl, mix the shredded cabbage with the salt and caraway seeds. Let the mixture rest for 15-20 minutes to let the salt start drawing moisture out of the cabbage.
- Wash a quart mason jar well with hot soapy water. Pack the salted cabbage mixture (and any juices) into the clean jar.
- Cover the jar with a towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter.
- Check the sauerkraut after 24 hours. If the cabbage is not entirely submerged in brine, add a saltwater mixture of 1 tsp salt to 1 cup water to the cabbage, just until it is submerged.
- Place the jar somewhere out of the way, away from direct sunlight, to ferment. Fermentation can take 1-3 weeks, depending on the temperature and your desired flavor of sauerkraut.
Store fermented sauerkraut in mason jars in the fridge for up to 3 months after fermentation is complete.