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~ (Pork Loin &) Buttery Sauerkraut & Butter Beans ~


You can take the girl out of Pennsylvania, but you can't take PA out of the girl.  If you were born and raised in Pennsylvania like me, you would have lived your entire life eating the same meal every year on New Year's Day:  pork and sauerkraut.  Even if you aren't German, the Pennsylvania Dutch influence is so prevalent here in the Keystone State that I can say with some certainty:  pork and sauerkraut, along with a big scoop of mashed potatoes, is being served in three out of every four kitchens in PA today.  Why on New Years Day?  The Pennsylvania Dutch belief/superstition is this:  Eating pork will bring good luck and prosperity to your family as you move forward into the new year, because, pigs forage/root forward to search for food, while chickens scratch backward and cows stand still.  The cabbage represents prosperity and money.  I'm all for moving forward along with being prosperous and successful, and, with the US experiencing the worst economy since WWII, we all need all the help we can get.  My recipe for ~ Apple Braised Pork Pot Roast w/Apple Pan Gravy ~ is braising on the stovetop, my potatoes are peeled and in the pot, and, my bag of sauerkraut is on the countertop waiting for me cook it, blog it and post it!

03215A bit about sauerkraut:  Although sauerkraut (German for "sour cabbage") is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building The Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate is as standard fare.  Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine, eventually found its way to Europe, where the Germans and Alsatians adopted it as a favorite staple.  

Today's sauerkraut is made in the same way:  combining shredded cabbage, salt and some spices, then allowing the mixture to ferment in masonry crocks.  It is packaged in jars and cans and is found in almost every supermarket.

PICT0724Fresh sauerkraut, which is much better than the stuff in the cans or jars, is sold by the pound in delicatessens, as well as in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, where it is packaged in plastic bags.  I recommend rinsing fresh sauerkraut in cold water before cooking it in casseroles, serving as a side-dish, or, using as a savory topping on sandwiches, like the famous Reuben.  Rinsing takes "the edge off" of 'kraut!

Both of my grandfathers made their own sauerkraut.  My father's father made it in a large barrel in his basement.  My mother's father made it in a masonry crock and sold it in his grocery store. This simple and delicious recipe is from my mother's mother, my Baba, and is how I learned to eat and enjoy sauerkraut.  There is nothing sour about this 'kraut, and even as a kid, I loved when my mom made it.  If you've never eaten pork and sauerkraut, or think you don't like sauerkraut in general,  this is the recipe that you will want to try first.  The following recipe, as written, makes a good amount, enough to fill a 3-quart casserole.  I make it in this quantity because I make it when I am serving my pork roast, which is quite large, to feed 8-10 of us for our New Years Day celebration!
















4  pounds fresh sauerkraut, thoroughly rinsed under cold water and well-drained

12  ounces butter (3 sticks)

1  tablespoon Jane's Original Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, or sea salt

1  tablespoon Jane's Original Krazy Mixed-Up Pepper, or peppercorn blend

1/2  teaspoon white pepper

1  pound diced yellow or sweet onion

1  40-ounce can butter beans (limas), undrained (Note:  Should you decided to cut this recipe in half, 1, 15 1/2-ounce can, which is a bit short on ounces, will work just fine.)

PICT0730~ Step 1.  Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water.  Allow the sauerkraut to continue to sit in the sink and drain, about 10 minutes.  

While the 'kraut is draining, prep the onion as directed.




~ Step 2.  In a 14" chef's pan, melt the butter over low heat.  Stir in the salt and peppers.  Add the onion and increase the heat to saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.





~ Step 3.  Add the sauerkraut and the beans.  Stir thoroughly.  Adjust heat to simmer gently, partially cover the pan and cook/steam for 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently.  

Note:  Lower the heat during the cooking process, as necessary, in order to maintain a steady, gentle simmer without sticking or scorching, until almost no liquid remains in the pan.

PICT0743~ Step 4.  Remove pan from heat, cover completely and let steam, about 30 minutes, prior to transferring to a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole dish and serving.








(Pork Loin &) Buttery Sauerkraut & Butter Beans:  Recipe yields 3 quarts, or, 12-16 servings.

Special Equipment List:  colander; cutting board; chefs knife; 12" chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid

Cook's Note:  Sauerkraut reheats perfectly over medium-low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave, and, it can me made up to 3 days in advance of serving.  To read my recipe for ~ Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast w/Apple Pan Gravy ~, just click into Categories 3, 12 or 19.

Extra Cook's Note:  Want to make your own sauerkraut?  You'll need a crock.  For a great selection of authentic 'kraut makin' crocks, go to!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Marilyn! On the plate is: pork roast, mashed potatoes & sauerkraut!!!

Hi Melanie... As I write this note, the pork loin is braising in my Dutch oven!
It is a rainy, ugly,day here in Brookfield, WI., and around here we all need a little comfort today. Yes, the recent shooting at the Azana Spa, literally occurred 3 blocks from my home! So, I decided, this meal, is exactly what I need. I love the idea of the beans and sauerkraut together. My mom also made this every New Years Day, but I think she used spareribs. Mashed potatoes usually accompanied it! Yum!
I sent my husband out to get all the ingredients today, and I forgot to put the chicken gravy on the list! So, before I head out on this miserable day, I am wondering what is on the plate besides the pork and kraut mixture? Looks like some kind of rice?
Can't wait for dinner tonight. I wish I had your meat slicer to get the thinner slices of meat. Thanks again for bringing me into your food world! Hugs, Marilyn

Maria/Maja! My husband warned me not to take too long photographing the finished plate because he couldn't wait to dig into it! I must confess, once a year, I enjoy this hearty indulgence myself (and the leftovers the next day)! Stay warm my friend!!!

Melanie..........this looks like a very delicious dinner for a cold night...I will keep it in mind and will consult your recipe when the heavy snow flakes will be dancing outside my windows....and I know my husband will be most delighted getting such a hearty meal...since he complains that all he gets is Austrian/German/Croatian meals...Today while watching the Ravens play......he made himself a Floridian Apple salad, do not ask for a recipe - it has Miracle Whip in it......and refused my mother's tomato soup...I in turn love the tomato soup and delighted in every spoonful....such are the differences in taste all depends where these taste buds began their life.....

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