Inexpensive pork shoulder is roasted slowly with fragrant fennel, apples and sauerkraut until fall-apart tender. A great way to start the new year and an amazing Sunday dinner option. This recipe can also be made in the slow cooker for quick weeknight meals.
Happy New Year to you! I hope your holidays were festive and sparkling…whether that be from glitter or champagne. Who stayed up to see the ball drop? Or did you do something else to ring in the New Year? I will confess….I was in bed by 10:30. We had family fondue night and then fell asleep on the sofa. Lame, I know but it was my first fondue night and it took a lot out of me. Seriously. Running out of stern pots halfway through dinner is very, very stressful. Thankfully, I have my guinea pigs at home to test these things out on. By the time I throw a REAL fondue party I’ll have all the details nailed down. I see another run through in our future, who’s up for some fondue?
In the meantime, I have an amazingly mouth-watering Slow Roasted Pork with Sauerkraut, Fennel and Apples. Growing up we always had Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. It’s my family’s version of lentil soup, black-eyed peas and greens. I don’t know where it originated but I think everyone and their brother makes Pork and Sauerkraut because that’s all that was in the grocery store when I went to buy it. They had frenched pork roasts, all different cuts of ribs, boneless pork chops and this super inexpensive bone-in pork shoulder roast. It’s perfect for braising…..it’s really the only way to cook it. My mom used to throw it in the crock pot with a ton of sauerkraut. And, you guessed it, I hated SOMETHING about it. And we usually had mashed potatoes too. And I gagged my way through dinner because I was the ultimate drama queen. My poor mom.
Now I love sauerkraut but I’m super picky about how it’s prepared. I rinse the crap out of it and press it in a towel until it’s dry. Why do I do this? Because it’s salty and I feel like it makes my overall recipe salty so I get rid of as much saltiness as I can and then….add my own salt. Don’t judge…it works…trust me. And the fennel I would usually poo-poo too because I’m not a big fan of the anise flavor, however, roasted it because it’s melty and sweet….perfect with the roasted apples. And they all play happily together in the pot.
The key to perfection here is to sear the pork roast until it’s crusty and golden on every side. Take it to the brink of burning and then flip it to the other side. You’re building an immense amount of flavor here, flavor you can’t get from a store shelf or your pantry. Do not skip this step. And then…after you caramelize your veggies, you’ll deglaze the pan with……leftover champagne. If you have any. I had leftovers because I go to bed at 10:30 on New Year’s Eve. So, then I make things like these braised chicken thighs or whip up a quick cocktail to kick off the day or bake a batch of these cupcakes. If you don’t have champagne you can use a dry white wine, a Riesling would work well here. The wine is the secret to what makes this recipe so amazing. Everything back into the pot and you have about 3 hours to go do whatever it is you do when you’re not in the kitchen. If you’re using a slow cooker, you have about 7-8 hours if you’re cooking on low.
That’s it…pretty easy for the most EPIC pork and sauerkraut recipe ever. Don’t ya think? And with the cold weather looming this week, who doesn’t want something comforting and hearty waiting for them at dinner time? This Slow Roasted Pork with Sauerkraut, Fennel and Apples is just the ticket.
Slow Roasted Pork with Sauerkraut, Fennel and Apples
- 1-8 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 large vidalia onion, sliced thin
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 2 apples, ,peeled, cored and cut into quarters
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup champagne or dry white wine
- 16 ounces sauerkraut, rinsed thoroughly and squeezed dry
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the pork roast from it's packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper (like if you think it's too much salt, it's probably not.)
- In a large dutch oven (or skillet if you're using a slow cooker), heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the pork. Sear the roast until golden brown and a crust has formed. Using tongs, turn the pork over and sear. Repeat this procedure until all the sides are browned and transfer to a platter.
- Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the pot and return to the heat. Add the onions and fennel. Cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the apples and cook until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook one minute until fragrant. Add the thyme and the white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to release the brown bits and cook until the wine has reduced by 1/2. Stir in the sauerkraut, brown sugar, caraway seeds and bay leaves.
- Make a "nest" in the center of the sauerkraut mixture and return the pork to the pan. Add the apple cider and stock to the pot. Cover and roast in the oven for 3 hours or until the pork shreds easily with a fork.
- (For the slow cooker) Transfer the pork to the slow cooker and surround the roast with the sauerkraut mixture. Add the apple cider and stock to the pot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Don't peek!