- 1⁄3 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 pounds pork back ribs or baby back ribs, cut into 3 sections
- 6 pounds sauerkraut (in plastic bags), drained
- ¼ cup duck or goose fat or peanut oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 20 juniper berries
- 3 large bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups Riesling or Pinot Gris
- 2 pounds Polish kielbasa, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
- One 2-pound piece of boneless boiled ham (3 to 4 inches wide), sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Assorted mustards, for serving
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Smokey Pork Choucroute over German Spaetzle
In a large, plastic bag, combine the 1/3 cup of kosher salt with the brown sugar. Add the pork ribs; shake well to thoroughly coat the ribs with the seasonings. Seal the bag and refrigerate the ribs overnight or for up to 24 hours.
The next day, preheat the oven to 300°. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and squeeze dry. Set a large roasting pan over 2 burners on high heat and melt the duck fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sauerkraut, juniper berries, bay leaves, caraway seeds, black pepper, stock and wine and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Meanwhile, rinse the pork ribs under cold water and pat dry. Nestle the pork ribs in the sauerkraut and bring back to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 ½ hours.
Remove the pork ribs from the sauerkraut. Cut down in between the ribs. Return the ribs to the sauerkraut and nestle in the kielbasa, hot dogs and ham. Cover and bake until the meats are hot, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt and bring to a boil over high heat; cook the potatoes until tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and cover to keep warm.
To serve, mound the hot sauerkraut in the center of very hot dinner plate and partially tuck in the pork ribs and the kielbasa. Arrange the hot dogs and ham around the sauerkraut. Alternatively, pile the sauerkraut on a large heated platter and garnish with the meats. Serve the choucroute with the boiled potatoes and assorted mustards.
German Spaetzle Dumplings
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-milk mixture. Gradually draw in the flour from the sides and combine well; the dough should be smooth and thick. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, hold a large holed colander or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzle floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the spaetzle; tossing to coat. Cook the spaetzle for 1 to 2 minutes to give the noodles some color, and then sprinkle with the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper before serving.