This recipe for German braised pork and cabbage, or Geschmortes Schweinefleisch Und Kohl in German, is my adaptation of a traditional German Eisbein mit sauerkraut (salt-cured pig knuckle or hock) on a day when I had neither ingredient on hand.
Instead, I braised a well-marbled piece of fresh pork belly (pork shoulder can be used instead) on top of green cabbage laced with dry white wine and vinegar. Here, the green cabbage is braised like red cabbage, and the slightly soured cooking liquid makes it taste like sauerkraut, but with much less salt. This is a nice example of Hausmannskost (home cooking), or hearty comfort food for the family.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 pound cabbage (green, sliced thin)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 juniper berries
- 3 cloves (whole)
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups white wine (dry)
- 2 to 3 pounds pork belly (or fresh pork shoulder)
- Optional: sour cream
- Optional: German mustard
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent, then add the thinly sliced cabbage and stir to coat with the fat.
Place 1 bay leaf, 3 juniper berries, 3 whole cloves, and 10 peppercorns in the middle of a square of cheesecloth. Tie it into a bundle with butcher's twine and place on top of the cabbage (or throw them in loose, if you do not mind).
Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 2 cups dry white wine and bring to a boil.
Lay the pork on top of the cabbage, cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat.
Simmer for three hours, or until meat is tender and easy to cut.
Remove meat to a platter and keep warm.
To finish the cabbage, you have several choices. You might want to cook down the liquid, then thicken it by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour made into a slurry with part of the liquid and cooking it until thick. Another option is to add a few tablespoons of sour cream to the cabbage (do not boil afterward).
Season to taste with salt, pepper, mustard and maybe a pinch of sugar.
Serve the pork and cabbage with potatoes, mashed or boiled, and mashed fresh peas (without mint).