Pork Shoulder Confit, Fried Pork, Fat-glazed Sauerkraut, Pork Fat Potatoes, Potato Pear & Caraway Puree, Pickled Mustard Seed, Sauerkraut Sauce, Beer Bubbles
I don't know how far-reaching the tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut is, but I do know that if you grew up in Berks or Lancaster County as I did, this is what you ate every year on January 1st, and probably a few days after. My heritage is largely Pennsylvania Dutch (German), so this tradition within my family was adhered to religiously. I'm not sure that we really knew why it became a tradition we just knew that it was. And as I learned later in life, it's also really great for a hangover. This tradition was also adopted by families with non-German backgrounds in the area that I grew up in. It's just a really great wintery dish. And this is my interpretation of something I grew up eating and loving.
The traditional way of making this dish is very simple. You take a Dutch oven or slow-cooker and place a seasoned pork shoulder in it. You dump a ton of sauerkraut on top, pour in a beer and cook it until the shoulder falls off the bone. You shred the meat with a fork and serve it over mashed potatoes.
I did mine a little different but came out with the same result. I vacuum sealed my shoulder with a good amount of lard and slow cooked it in a water bath held at 180 degrees for 6 hours. I cooled it quickly and allowed it to sit in the fat overnight to develop some extra flavor. The next day I removed the shoulder from the bag and reserved the fat. I shredded some of the meat into tiny strands and deep fried them into crispy little pieces. The rest of the pork was cut into small cubes and pan-seared giving them a crispy exterior while being meltingly smooth on the inside.
The potatoes were also vac-packed with fat and slow-cooked til tender. They were finished on the stove-top being fried in pork fat til crispy. The sauerkraut was also cooked in the pork fat.
The sauce was made by steeping some of the kraut in cream before straining it. The puree was made by boiling the potatoes and pears with a sachet of caraway seeds before blending with butter and heavy cream. The mustard seeds were cooked in vinegar, water and sugar until tender.
I finished off the plate with some beer bubbles made by blending the beer with a little bit of sugar and some soy lecithin.
Pasture-raised Pork Shoulder - Stryker Farm
Organic Potatoes - Culton Organics
Sustainably Grown Bosc Pears - Three Springs