oftt

Mom's Sauerkraut (Kapusta)

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3-1/2 pounds pork, neck bones
3 large onions, divided
3/4 pound smoked or regular hamhock
1 head of green cabbage, shredded
2 twenty-four ounce jars sauerkraut
1 eight ounce package sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

To make kapusta, you are going to start by making a stock. You will need 3-1/2 pounds of pork neck bones, they will have some meat on them. These are easily found at the grocery store or from your butcher. Just ask, if they don't have them right then, it will not be a problem getting them by the next day.

Place them in a roasting pan, on a rack (sprayed with PAM) and place them in a 350 degree oven for one hour, turning them over after thirty minutes.

In a large, heavy pot (I used my Dutch oven), place the roasted neck bones, one large, yellow onion, quartered, and a 3/4 pound hamhock. Fill with enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for three hours. When done, strain the stock, reserving separately the neck bones and the hamhock. Pour the liquid back into the pot and spoon off any fat accumulated on top. Reserve this fat, you might need a little later.

Remove meat from the pork neck bones. It will pull off and shred so easily. Set aside.

My Mom uses a mixture of fresh and jarred sauerkraut in this recipe. It really gives it a good flavor.

Chop I head of green cabbage and open two 24 ounce jars of store-bought sauerkraut. Drain the jarred sauerkraut, reserving the juice.

Bring the stock back to a boil, adding the cabbage, the jarred sauerkraut and the meat from the pork neck bones. Let simmer while you prepare other ingredients.

The inside skin of the hamhock you reserved from the stock has a layer of fat. With a knife, remove that fat and begin to fry it up in a nonstick pan.

To the same pan, add 2 large chopped onions and one 8 ounce package of sliced mushrooms. As you cook this there might not be enough fat in the pan to cook the onions and the mushrooms so slowly add the fat you skimmed off the top of the stock that you reserved. Use only as much as you need, this will really give it flavor. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the mushroom-onion mixture to the simmering sauerkraut. Continue to simmer the sauerkraut until the onions almost melt in your mouth, about an hour to an hour and a half. Leave the lid 3/4 on top, allowing for some release of steam. As it cooks, periodically taste and decide if it is sour enough for you. If it is not, add back the sauerkraut juice you reserved from the jars to make it as sour as you like. Also, you will need to salt and pepper it to your liking.

This makes a big pot and can feed a crowd with leftovers. It freezes well, so enjoy.

 

- Recipe courtesy of Cathy Pollak

 

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