Estonian Pork and Sauerkraut

Estonian Pork and Sauerkraut

Pork and sauerkraut seems to be a staple in the fall. For me at least. Kraut on brats, slow cooked ribs in the oven…it seems I can’t get away. And honestly, I can’t get enough.

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Actually, that’s not true. I take it back. I can get enough. Two weeks through Germany and Prague with Lettuce and Tomato a few years back taught us all that there is a limit to the amount of sausage and sauerkraut that one can eat. Thankfully, this early in the season I’ve not yet reached my limit and happily embraced my last Baltic dish from Estonia: Mulgi Kapsad, or sauerkraut with pork and barley, typically served with some sort of potato.

This dish couldn’t be easier. With 5 ingredients, my tweak on it was done in a little less than an hour, most of that time hands off. I changed the original recipe by substituting Arborio rice for the barley (a substitute to make it gluten-free), bone-in pork chops rather than Boston butt and the addition of caraway seeds because it felt weird to not add ANY flavorings at all.

Mulgi Kapsad
Serves 2
Pork and sauerkraut stew
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 bone-in thick cut pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper
  2. 1 pound jarred sauerkraut
  3. ½ cup Arborio rice
  4. About 1-1 ½ cups water
  5. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Sugar, pinch, if desired
Instructions
  1. Spread the sauerkraut at the bottom of a pot,and scatter rice on top. Add the caraway seeds and sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour enough water over to barely cover the ingredients.
  2. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pork chops, and bury in the sauerkraut. Continue cooking another 30-40 minutes until the pork is cooked through.
Notes
  1. There is no need to stir this until the very end.
  2. You may need to add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the sauerkraut
Adapted from Nami-Nami
Adapted from Nami-Nami
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

To be honest, while this dish was good, it didn’t blow me away. The flavors didn’t really have more than one dimension, and the lack of color on my plate was downright depressing. I’m not sure making it true to recipe with the pork butt or shoulder would have changed that.

At the end of the day, I’ll take my pork and kraut grilled in a bun with a little bit of mustard.

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3 thoughts on “Estonian Pork and Sauerkraut”

  • I think I’d try cooking this in my rice-cooker (but with the barley because I love the nutty, chewy,flavour). I’d probably add some green peas and possibly some chopped red capsicum for colour. I like your idea of adding caraway seeds, they go well with pork and sauerkraut. Come to think of it, they go really well with carrots too, so for more colour I would add some too.
    So here’s the method:

    Start with the sauerkraut on the bottom of the pot and layer everything up, including the pork (which would probably be better cubed), scattering the caraway seeds through the layers. Add the liquid, close the lid and start the rice-cooker. When the timer tells you it’s done, serve it up. How simple is that!

    • Yup, the original recipe called for stewing pork which I just didn’t use for quantity purposes. I didn’t think to use the rice cooker (which, I love). I’m totally with you on the extra veg- I really had a problem with the monotone color of it, but tried to stick to authenticity on this one. It did, however, remind me how much I love risotto, which I don’t eat nearly enough!

  • If you invent your own recipe, no wonder it didn’t taste right.
    How about calling it something else. It’s certainly very far from being mulgikapsad.
    Mulgikapsad is a cabbage dish, pork is another dish.
    Sorry, but you really missed on this one.

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