Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New England Boiled Dinner

This is a great autumn dinner and it is so simple as to be embarrassing. My German grandparents used to call this a New England boiled dinner, but, since it doesn’t include corned beef or cabbage, I think it must be a variation on an old German dish. (Actually, it was called "supper" since it was often served by my grandmother on Sunday around 2 PM.  "Dinner" was a more modest meal served later that day ... often just a big apple turnover.)

First get a nice loin of pork (about 3 or 4 pounds) and rinse it well. Place it in a large pot (such as Le Creuset) of cold water and add about 5 allspice berries, 5 black peppercorns, and a bay leaf or two (a dried Polish mushroom or two would also be good). Cover and bring up to a rolling simmer. (Do not hard boil, it toughens the pork.) Cook on low heat, covered for about an hour before you add two or three packages of sauerkraut and four large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters. If you are so inclined you might also add a few small peeled onions and cleaned and quartered carrots (not necessary though). Cook another half hour uncovered so that the moisture levels are adjusted downward. Finally add about 6 good quality hot dogs or knockwurst, recover the pot and steam them for another 15 minutes. (I like them to crack open.)

Serves 4 to 6 people. May I suggest that a serving might consist of 3 or 4 potato pieces which are then fork-mashed and buttered and peppered. Then cover with sauerkraut, a good piece of pork loin (should be falling-apart tender), and a hot dog or knockwurst. Add some good German or Polish mustard, some crusty seeded rye bread, and crack a cold German beer. Enjoy!

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