Alright, I’m going to let you folks in on a little secret – the Corporate Writing Pro loves to cook! – down home, Southern, West Virginia and low country Virginia cooking. And there is nothing more fortunate on New Year’s Eve than to eat pork and sauerkraut at midnight (apologies to my Muslim friends, but it’s the truth, asalaam alaikum).
I personally believe this is because if you are fortunate enough to have money to purchase pork and friends enough to help you eat it, you are already blessed. So I’m going to share this year’s recipe, because the love in my heart says I should.
Start with a beautiful piece of pork. Traditionally people use pork loin, but feel free to pick out whatever cut your butcher has that looks sweet, plump, and delicious. This year, I found two fat butterfly chops are simply perfect.
Trim the fat. I know Emeril Lagasse says pork fat rules, and it is tasty, but it’s bad for your heart. Braise the pork in olive oil instead. You’ll get a great flavor while being kinder to your body. And season that puppy!
This year, I used salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and New Orlean’s Kickin’ Cajun (cause I like it spicy – I know you weren’t surprised by that!). You want a nice brown crust all around. AFrom left to right – Jessika, Zachary, Gary, Tyree, Erikand don’t be afraid to stand that thing up sideways in the pan to get it. The ends count too.
Forget about turning on the exhaust. Let the smell waft through the house. Spread the joy and the anticipation, because isn’t that what New Year’s Eve is all about – waiting for time to pass and good things to come?
While the oil and the heat and the spices and the meat are working their magic in your pan (and I hope you’re using iron on gas – it’s the elements that matter; get back to basics, people), pre-heat your crock pot, and pull out your sauerkraut and some chicken stock.
Don’t worry about the quality of your kraut. Go ahead, buy the freshest, crispest sauerkraut on the market. You’re about to put it in a crock pot for 6-8 hours! It’s going to get mushy! WhFrom left to right – Jessika, Zachary, Gary, Tyree, Erikay bother? And as for flavor, you’re about to season it with pork and stock and all of your loving goodness. Spend your money on the things that matter, like electricity.
But invest in stock!
I roasted a chicken on Christmas Eve. And the day after Christmas, I boiled the carcass with onions and carrots, and a stick of real sweat cream butter and I ladled the stock into my ice trays, and I got a gallon and a half of thick, rich, brilliant chicken stock. And don’t you think for one second that I’m putting those cubes into the microwave. Oh no.
I poured my kraut into a bowl; added some salt, pepper, garlic, onion, anFrom left to right – Jessika, Zachary, Gary, Tyree, Erikad a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar; set my braised chops atop of the lot; and proceeded to deglaze the pan with about two cups of frozen golden cubes of goodness. Oh yes.
And now it’s all sitting in the crock pot, waiting to fall apart, soak into each other, and melt away, not into oblivion, but into nutritious, energetic goodness – just like my family’s been doing for the last 12 years – my stepdaughters and my husband and me, my puppy dogs, and now my new baby grandson.
Happy New Year everyone. May it be as rich and beautiful and delicious as you make it!