Saturday, January 01, 2011

If you're not Dutch, you're not much

A friend of mine once uttered this phrase, and it makes me laugh now just as it did then. As long as I’m going to pay homage to my mother’s side of the family, I should also show a little love to my dad’s. He was born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania and as a result, he carries with him a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. One of his family traditions was for the first dinner of the year to be Pork Roast and Sauerkraut. He insists that the meal brings good luck. Although I haven't seen any compelling evidence to that effect, I'm a sucker for the tradition. For many years, my mother made this dish for the family and although I didn’t love it growing up, I’ve come to appreciate it. Now my family loves it and it's an easy way to get my Dad to come and visit. (Now if only I could make him a Shoofly pie.)

This one is super simple and the perfect meal to throw in the oven on a cold Winter day. The ratio of pork to sauerkraut is very forgiving so whatever size roast is used, the finished product should turn out well. Serve with applesauce, mashed potatoes and pan roasted brussels sprouts and you’re good to go.

Good Luck Pork Dinner

1 onion, roughly chopped
2 apples, roughly chopped
Boneless pork loin roast, I used a 3 ½ pound roast
2 large jars of sauerkraut, I used 64 ounces total

For the dumplings:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
¾ teaspoon of salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
finely chopped herbs to taste, I used about a tablespoon of Herbes de Provence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer a large covered casserole dish with apples and onions and then sauerkraut. Rinse and then season the pork with salt and pepper and place in the middle of the dish atop the sauerkraut. Cover and bake until pork registers 150 degrees.

Next, make the dumplings by combining the wet ingredients and then adding the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Drop dumpling mixture in balls onto the surface of the sauerkraut, cover and return to oven. Cook until the dumplings have a brownish tinge and the pork registers 160 degrees.

Enjoy with a German Riesling or your wine of choice. Here’s to a great year!
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