Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Eating for Good Luck in the New Year.

When I lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we celebrated the New Year by going to one of the local churches and feasting in a family style, all you can eat, Pork and Sauerkraut meal.  This tradition came to Pennsylvania with the Amish and the Mennonite; a German or "Pennsylvania Dutch" tradition to bring good luck for the incoming New Year.

Once I moved to Utah, I found there was no typical New Year food tradition; no reason behind it, there just wasn't one is what I was informed.  Oh I went online and tried looking it up; found the Pennsylvania one, a Deep South tradition, even listings for the Chinese New Year, but no, no traditional Utah one, not even Mormon related.

The recipe I'm posting today deals with, of course, Pork and Sauerkraut; and finding the origin of this combination goes back to; well good question as pickled cabbage can be found in many cultures, even the Chinese.  My personal recipe is more of Croatian descent, except I add potatoes like they do in Germany; in the Ukraine, they add barley; however I have had one woman of Irish descent tell me that the idea of adding potatoes was stolen from the Irish.  Wherever it came from, the concept is still the same, eating it on New Year's Day to ensure good luck, good health and prosperity all year long.

I like using sauerkraut that is from a jar or a bag; it tastes better and the canned variety seems to have a metallic taste to it.  When it comes to the pork, you have lots of options; smoked kielbasa or sausage, roasted pork roast, fried or baked boneless pork chops; you can add bacon or ham too.  My recipe is a quick stove top dish, so make sure the pork product you use is cooked before hand.

Pork and Sauerkraut

2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup diced red onions
8 baby potatoes, peeled, parboiled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
1 (14 oz)smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds


Heat the oil in a large skillet, medium-high heat; add the onion and potato slices and cook until onion begins to soften. Turn potato slices occasionally to keep from over browning.

Add the sauerkraut and sausage slices; when the ingredients begin to sizzle, mix thoroughly. Let cook another five minutes before mixing in the paprika and caraway seeds. Continue to cook another three minutes, but check to see that nothing is browning or drying out too quickly.

Makes 4 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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