If you’re tired of serving the same old corned beef and cabbage this time of the year, my pork loin roast with “quick-style” fresh sauerkraut is a good variant to try out now.

Historically, sauerkraut was made in large batches following the first frost, as freeze makes cabbage more tender and sweeter. The cabbage was sliced very finely, then salted and packed into large crocks and finally pressed until all liquid was released. A couple weeks later, it was ready for eating.

In today’s fast-paced world, nobody has time to wait a couple of weeks when the hankering for a good Irish-American meal hits. And more importantly, most city dwellers don’t have the space for large vats of fermenting cabbage. My quick-style version of fresh sauerkraut will have your taste buds puckering in a fraction of the time, simply by combining thinly-sliced ribbons of cabbage with three vinegars over medium-high heat. And while my fresh sauerkraut isn’t fermented, it still possesses the same texture and acidic bite of traditional pickled cabbage.

It’s hard to believe that a vegetable I so loathed as a child is now among my favorites. Maybe it was because we used canned sauerkraut before my parents starting pickling their own cabbage, or maybe it was just the crazy cabbage smell that frightened me. Whatever the reason (it was probably that first diner Reuben sandwich on rye bread with extra Russian dressing I had decades ago), I am now a cabbage convert.

This pork roast is the perfect Sunday supper in cold weather, when cabbages abound in the market. If you do not plan ahead or have the time to make fresh sauerkraut, the bagged kraut in the refrigerated section of your grocery store is excellent. Since traditional sauerkraut is a fermented food, it carries live cultures that do incredible things for your digestive system.

Pork Loin Roast with “Quick-Style” Fresh Sauerkraut

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 2 tablespoons dried sage

Several gratings of nutmeg

3 cups fresh sauerkraut (see recipe)

1 (3-pound) pork loin on the bone

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, fennel seeds, garlic, sage and nutmeg, and stir well to combine. Place the sauerkraut in an ovenproof casserole and place the pork loin on top. Rub the salt-and-spice mixture all over the loin. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over the loin and roast for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 degrees.

Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pan juices and sauerkraut and drizzled with the remaining 1/4 cup oil. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 510 calories; 32 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 56 percent calories from fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 131 mg cholesterol; 1,822 mg sodium; 44 g protein; 3 g fiber.

“Quick-Style” Fresh Sauerkraut

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 head green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup apple cider

1 cup hard cider

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or high-sided pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and caraway. Saute until soft, about 6 minutes.

Add the cabbage, vinegar, cider, hard cider and salt, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.

This can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Makes 2 quarts or 6 servings.

Per serving (per 1 cup): 87 calories; 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat; 36 percent calories from fat); 11 g carbohydrates; 6 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 1,500 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber.

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