Roasted pork casserole with sauerkraut is a typical recipe for Friuli Venezia Giulia. A very simple recipe, apparently. In fact, it presents the problem of cooking pork, which requires a bit of experience to be able to dry it properly but not dry it out. However, with a minimum of attention the result is excellent.
The meat to use is pork ribs (loin, tenderloin or fillet)that is, the most valuable and tasty part, also thanks to the presence of the appropriate amount of fat.
There loin It is nothing other than boneless ribs, and is basically the fillet of pork. Iartist instead, it is short rib cooked with all the bones, although in southern Tuscany (where the arista was “invented”, in the first half of the 15th century) it is now common practice to also call boneless arista.
For our pork fillet with sauerkraut we use the regular ones. natural cooked sauerkraut found in supermarkets. There is no alternative, unless you have a family tradition of preparing sauerkraut for the winter. Making sauerkraut at home is quite simple, but also laborious, if only because you need to let the sauerkraut ferment. cabbage For about a month!
However, it must be said that the sauerkraut sold is usually excellent (not always, but almost always).
After all, for centuries Friulian housewives have been cooking pork with sauerkraut using sauerkraut not cooked at the moment, but previously cooked in quantity and stored in the pantry. Which was basically the equivalent of today’s supermarkets.
The one of Sauerkraut It is a preparation obtained from cabbage, sliced, salted and fermented. The recipe is of German origin (but is widespread in all the countries of the Alpine arc and in numerous Eastern countries) and usually accompanies pork and sausages, especially smoked ones.
Today Industrially produced sauerkraut is used almost exclusively., but it is not uncommon for families (in Italy in the Altro Adige and in some towns in Friuli) to still prepare them by hand. Which is easy to do, but requires organization and time.
For those who are curious, we explain it very briefly here. how to prepare homemade sauerkraut.
The cabbage is cut into thin slices and placed in large jars, alternating layers of cabbage with layers of salt mixed with herbs: usually juniper berries, coriander seeds and pepper. It is finished with a layer of salt and everything is covered with a disk with a diameter a little smaller than that of the jar, placing a weight on top to compress it. In this way, the cabbage ferments, forming a liquid (it is vegetation water) that grows over time as the cabbage compacts and becomes sauerkraut. The process requires about a month of storage in the dark.
At this point the liquid is no longer needed and is discarded, while the sauerkraut can be removed and cooked. After rinsing them well, they are usually cooked with lard or lard, wine and juniper to accompany chops (like our pork with sauerkraut), sausages, sausages, zamponi or cotechini.
If you like keep them, before cooking, you can do so for up to about two weeks. It will be enough to keep them in the dark covered with the fermentation liquid created in the process.
For longer periods, up to a year, it is necessary to pasteurize them, exactly as is done with fruit jams.
- A piece of pork loin or tenderloin weighing approximately 1 kg
- 400 g onions
- 500 g drained natural sauerkraut
- 200 g tomato puree
- ½ dice
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- caraway seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Finely chop the onions and brown them for 6-7 minutes over very low heat in a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of oil. Meanwhile, prepare the broth by dissolving half a bouillon cube in 200 ml of boiling water.
- Pour the meat into the pan, sprinkle it with paprika and add a teaspoon of cumin seeds. She turns up the heat a little and browns the pork loin on all sides, turning it several times.
- Add the tomato sauce, half of the broth (100 ml), cover and let it simmer for 40 minutes, turning the meat two or three times.
- Add the sauerkraut, add the other 100 ml of broth and cook for another 15-20 minutes to complete the cooking, always over low heat and with the lid on.
- Remove the meat from the saucepan and let it cool. Also remove the sauerkraut, draining it so that all the seasoning remains in the saucepan. Season the cooking juice with a generous grind of pepper and leave it on the heat (always sweet, but without a lid) for the necessary minutes for it to thicken perfectly, so that it remains fluid more or less like yogurt. To do this, if necessary, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and/or hot water. Taste and add salt
- Cut the meat into slices and put it back in the pan, moistening it all with the cooking juices. A few minutes before bringing your pork with sauerkraut to the table, heat it over very low heat and then serve it very hot, accompanied by the sauerkraut.