Pork and Sauerkraut with Fennel and Apples
Inexpensive pork shoulder is roasted slowly with fragrant fennel, apples and sauerkraut until fall-apart tender. Pork and Sauerkraut is 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 easy weeknight meals.
Pork and Sauerkraut
Happy New Year to you! I hope your holidays were festive and sparkling…whether that be from glitter or champagne. Either way, I think we’re all ready to kick off a fresh start with some lucky food options to turn the world around.
We always start the year with this Pork and Sauerkraut recipe. 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, longevity noodles and greens. It’s also super popular in the Philadelphia area, as everyone I know seems to have their own version.
What is Pork and Sauerkraut?
The history of Pork and Sauerkraut comes from German settlers as a traditional New Year’s meal meant to bring good luck. Since pigs root ahead when they feed, as opposed to chickens who move backward, it’s considered a symbol of progress. The sauerkraut is meant to symbolize money, or wealth, because it’s green….or it was green when it was cabbage.
Ingredients You Will Need
Pork Shoulder Roast – I like to make it with a super inexpensive bone-in pork shoulder roast. It’s perfect for braising…..it’s really the only way to cook it a pork roast so it’s juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender. You can use just about any pork roast for this recipe but I like to use something inexpensive since we’re sprucing it up with other goodies.
Sauerkraut – 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.
Fennel – If you’ve never had fennel, it’s closely related to the carrot but it’s not a root vegetable. The stalk and leaves are edible but we’re only using the bulb for this recipe. The fennel I would usually poo-poo too because I’m not a big fan of the anise flavor, however, roasted… it’s melty and sweet….perfect with the roasted apples. And they all play happily together in the pot.
Apples – You’ll want to use something that will hold up to braising similar to what you’d use in a pie. I like to use a Honeycrisp or Fuji apple for this recipe.
White wine – You can skip the wine if you don’t want to cook with alcohol but the alcohol does burn off during the cooking process. I use leftover champagne from the night before, it adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
Apple Cider – Yes, the apple cider from fall makes a return here and it’s perfectly at home with the pork roast.
Those are all the key components but you’ll also need onion, brown sugar, caraway seeds (think rye bread), thyme, bay leaves, beef stock (homemade is best) and garlic.
How To Make It
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 always have 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.
Crock Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
This Pork and Sauerkraut recipe works incredibly well in the slow cooker or CrockPot, too.
Simply follow all the instructions and instead of popping it into the oven, transfer all the ingredients to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours until fork tender.
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.
What To Serve It With
If you’re looking for a totally auspicious dinner, add a side of black eyed peas but we really love serving this with a pile of mashed potatoes to soak up all the sauce that’s going to be pooling on your dinner plate.
More Slow Cooked Pork Recipes
- Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast with Honey Garlic Sauce
- Easy Kalua Pork Recipe
- Philly Style Italian Pork Sandwich
Get the Recipe: 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!