I like meaning. I like understanding the "why" of what we do. So naturally, when I married into a family that eats pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day, I asked "why."
They didn't know.
I asked other locals who also partake. No one knew.
Fortunately for such queries there is Google. At last, I had my answer!!
"Pennsylvania Dutch superstition says that eating pork on New Year’s Day brings good luck because a pig roots forward to look for its food, while chickens scratch backward and cows stand still."Unfortunately, the answer was not exactly full of the deep meaning I was craving. We eat pork and sauerkraut for good luck? 'Kaaaay...... And we figure it will bring good luck because .... pigs root forward instead of backward. I see.
Well, I had to take what I could get. But maybe I can give better.
Evidently not being authentically Pennsylvania Dutch, I grew up thinking sauerkraut was something people who had no taste buds slopped onto their hot dogs. You might say I was not eager to add this meal to our family repertoire.
So, naturally, I doctored it.
With Betty Crocker as my inspiration, here's what I came up with a few years ago. Happy New Year, and happy sauerkraut-eating. And may we all move forward this year, pigs or not!
Pork & Sauerkraut
Brown in bacon fat in heavy skillet:
2 lb pork roast (or chops)
Set pork aside in dutch oven. In first skillet (use more fat if needed) brown:
1 lb smoked sausage or kielbasa
Add sausage to pork in dutch oven. Now saute in the skillet:
1 large onion, sliced into quarter slices (or chopped - I slice mine so it can hide amongst the sauerkraut)
Add the onion to the meat. Also add:
2 lb bag fresh sauerkraut (you can use canned if you don't mind sacrificing serious flavor and texture)
2 c. chicken broth
1 tart apple, cored and sliced
1 T brown sugar
1 capful liquid smoke
1/8 tsp. cloves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Now let it all simmer till the pork is tender. Make it the day before to save yourself a serving-day hassle and to enhance the flavors. Serve with mashed potatoes and pickled beets for a true Pennsylvania Dutch meal.
[originally posted January 1, 2012]