Friday, February 27, 2009

Fanatical about FERMENTING-in this case-Cabbage

#1 preserved limes, sliced apples & onions, homemade fermented sauerkraut, bay leaves, juniper berries, whole cloves, chopped air cured ham rind, pork rib roast rubbed with whole grain mustard

Special dinner guests, wanted to make something that could be done ahead of time and was seasonal. Came back to an old standby, our home fermented sauerkraut. This kraut was made in 2007, we processed 200 pounds of organic cabbage. It was an ad-hoc group, including relatives and friends and importantly for the kraut making process friend Chef Bridget Charters and family. I used to help my cousin and her family with the process, the more hands the merrier. Bridget decided to include the process in her American Regional Cuisine class. She and I worked on a batch or two, years ago when we taught together at the Art Institute of Seattle. She was also the person who found the old wooden cabbage slicer in an antique store years ago and give it to me as a present. We are due to make another batch in Fall of 2009 and I will take pictures and describe them here.
Back to the kraut I made last weekend. I have been making a version of this dish since college and this time, I decided to twist it up, yet again. After the cabbage is fermented, with SALT only, I can it because I don’t trust it to stay indefinitely in our above ground garage.
Brown the meat on all sides, after rubbing it with mustard. In the olive oil from the perserved limes, cook apples and onions until soft. add all the other items in top photo #1. Then add beer and brown sugar, photo #2.

Top fremented beer (lighter style) & brown sugar

Mix the items until well coated.

Place kraut mixture in a baking dish in which you have arranged 4 large pealed carrots on the bottom, forming a platform for the sauerkraut. Place pork on top of kraut and sprinkle meat with sweet paprika. Cover with lid or foil and back at 375 degrees until meat is to temp and carrots are tender. Remove cover, for last 20 minutes of baking, to brown meat and cabbage. Check pan and make sure there is always a bit of liquid (add water as needed) in the mix, so that things don't burn.

Serve with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetable, boiled potatoes, polenta, spaezle. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve with various mustards.
Here are a few more tips:

  • replace pork roast with stuffed or unstuffed chicken, capon, cornish game hens or duck (add lime zest or orange zest for a change, a hand full of sun dried tomatoes)

  • replace beer with white wine or sparking wine for a lighter taste

  • I used the lime infused oil because I made it last year, it added a ice citrus note, plain oil is fine

  • Measurements are not really necessary, I have never make it the same way twice!

  • This works great on the BBQ outside as well

  • I love making this a day or two in advance and reheating tastes even better warmed up!
This is the dish just before I popped it into the oven......there is no photo of it cooked because we
pulled it out and in our hunger ate it, before I got a picture!

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