Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crock Pot Kielbasa, Pork, and Sauerkraut

I am not entirely sure of this recipe's origins.  I got it from my mom, who makes it every New Year's Day.  I do the same now, but also make it at other times of the year.  It's particularly good when the weather is at least a little chilly, since it's pretty hearty.  Don't let the weather limit you, though!  One year Sean requested that we have it for Easter dinner when we were spending the holiday here in Maryland alone.  This makes a lot of food and is really intended to be eaten with a group.

You'll need:

2 lbs kielbasa, cut into large pieces
1 small pork roast (1 - 1 1/2 lbs)
2 large cans sauerkraut, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 tbs caraway seeds, or to taste
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup monterrey jack cheese, shredded

This first part is optional.  I just like to give my pork roast a little head start before putting it in the crock pot.  It cuts down on the overall cooking time (which believe me, you'll be happy about later when you smell the awesomeness emanating from your crock pot).  Plus, I'm a little paranoid about underdone meat.  Don't ask why; I don't really have a good reason.  Heat a large skillet with a little vegetable oil on medium high.  Sear the pork on all sides.  I then like to cut the roast up into a few big pieces.  Set the pork aside for a second.

Alternately, if you're not a crazy trichinosis-fearing person like me, you can just cut your pork into a few big hunks and bury it in the other ingredients once you get them in the crock pot.

Combine the cream of celery soup, brown sugar, and sauerkraut in a crock pot (I used the 6 qt. insert).  Stir in the onion, caraway seeds, and kielbasa.  Nestle your pork down in the mixture, too.

Cover and cook on low for ~6 hours.  You can always jack it up to high for the first hour or so to speed things up if you're impatient like me.  Either way, check that pork with a thermometer before serving!  It should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.  It will likely be falling apart after 6 hours, which is exactly what you want to see.  

Right before serving, stir in the 1 cup of jack cheese until it melts.  Dig on in!  I like to eat the kielbasa and pork, along with a little sauerkraut on a nice crusty bun, and then serve some mashed potatoes (no gravy, please) on the side.  Make sure to mix some sauerkraut into those potatoes, while you're at it.  You won't regret it.

We had some guests in town a couple of weeks ago, and I made this for them.  It was a nice choice because I didn't have to spend a long time in the kitchen.  I just threw everything together after I put my breakfast casserole (recipe to come soon!) in the oven, and voila!  We had a delicious late lunch.  

This is awesome.  It makes me a very happy Pollock.  When I said earlier that it's intended to be eaten with a group... that's not a hard and fast rule.  Sometimes I make it for just Sean and myself, and then we have a buttload of leftovers.  It's great reheated, too.  Please give this a try!  You will not regret it.

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