Even if you are not a beer lover or beer fan, there is some great food that goes along with a Oktoberfest celebration. Of course there are lots of meals involving sausages and wursts of various kinds, but there are also lots of uses for things like pork and cabbage. Williams-Sonoma posted some great recipes a little over a week ago that concentrated on the Oktoberfest meals and what you can make at home and I recently tried out a couple of them. The first one I tried was a nice meal of pork shoulder with sauerkraut and apples. I had picked up a very large pork shoulder on sale, cut it into two roasts, removed the bone and froze half of it. I used the other half for this recipe.
Pork Shoulder with Sauerkraut and Apples
1 boneless pork shoulder roast, about 4 to 5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved and cored
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds sauerkraut, squeezed dry
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
Lay the pork flat, boned side up, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, trim away any large pockets of fat. Starting at the thinner end of the meat, roll up the pork and securely tie the roll at regular intervals with kitchen twine. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the vegetable oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently, until it is well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter.
Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the onion, apples and thyme, and saute until the onion and apples are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the apple mixture to a bowl.
Pour off the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the wine and de-glaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the bottom of a large Dutch oven with the sauerkraut. Sprinkle the sauerkraut with the brown sugar and caraway seeds, if using. Place the pork on top of the sauerkraut and surround it with the apple mixture. Pour in the wine mixture. Cover, transfer to the heated oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender and shreds easily, about 4 to 5 hours.
Transfer the pork to a carving board. Using a sharp knife, cut the pork crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick, removing the twine from the pork as you slice. Place the sauerkraut on a large platter and top with the pork slices. Surround the pork with the apples and serve immediately.
This dish also lends itself very well to cooking in the slow cooker. All you need to do is cover the bottom of the slow cooker with the sauerkraut and sprinkle the brown sugar on top of it. Place the pork on top of the sauerkraut and surround it with the apple mixture. Pour in the wine mixture, cover, and cook on low until the pork is fork-tender, about 8 to 10 hours.
I did change a couple of things about this recipe. I did not use the caraway seeds myself. I also substituted chicken broth for the white wine. You could just as easily use water instead of wine or broth if you like. Finally, I only used 1 pound of sauerkraut and then substituted some shredded red cabbage for the rest of it to give things a bit of a different look and flavor. The 5 hour cooking time gives the cabbage and the pork incredible flavor. The meat falls and shreds much like pulled pork would but you get a nice bite of the vinegar in the sauerkraut and the taste of the apples. I think it’s a great dish. I served this with some wild rice and applesauce.
That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another Oktoberfest recipe I just tried for pork chops with a cider glaze. It was also a great recipe to try out this time of year. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!