Holiday Fermented Pork SauerkrautMonday, December 26, 2011
I try to eat fermented foods at least once or twice a week to facilitate the restoration of beneficial bacteria and a healthy gut. Like fat and organ meats, this is one of those stellar foods that most folks are lacking in their diet.
Since I have not yet found the time to ferment my own sauerkraut (one of my goals for 2012), I buy quarts of fermented sauerkraut from a seller at Detroit Eastern Market for $5/quart. He makes 150 gallons at a time to bring to the market. A bargain, especially considering how many meals I get from one quart.
I start off by putting pastured neck bones in my smallest crock pot at night, on low, and in the morning I awake to the smell of fresh-cooked neck bones with the meat falling off of the bone. I carefully peel off all of the meat and the desirable fat – most of the fat (about 90%) from a pastured pork neck bone is edible and tasty. I don’t find the same to be true with industrial pork. My pork comes from my favorite pork farm, Melo Fams, in Yale, Michigan. In fact, this pork sauerkraut recipe was inspired by my farmer and friend, Melody Nye.
I throw the kraut in another crock pot (my medium size) and toss in the pork meat and fat. I add red pepper flakes, sea salt, pepper, and some dried onion flakes.
After cooking for about an hour, I add some dark lager to the crock pot. In this case it was Michigan Brewing Company Nutty Brown Ale.
Then I mix it all up, throw the lid on, and let it cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile, in the oven goes the pastured bacon while I multitask – usually while blogging/writing.
I keep the bacon in the fridge, and for each serving of the sauerkraut I tear one piece of bacon over the top of the serving of sauerkraut. Thanks to James H Lewis II, on Facebook, for planting the beer & bacon idea in my head.