Polish Pork Hocks with Sauerkraut {Golonka w Kapuście}

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Polish Pork Hocks with Sauerkraut {Golonka w Kapuście}

Golonka [gol-ohnka] is the lower part of the pig’s leg. In Poland, they are differentiated by golonka przednia (front hock) and golonka tylna (rear hock). Normally the rear hocks are cut slightly bigger, and front hocks are sliced into 2 inches / 5 cm slices. Today, I’m using the “front” hocks and I will be cooking them with vegetables first to infuse more flavor, and then roasting a bit with soured cabbage.

This traditional dish is served all over Poland. You can find it being roasted over an open fire in restaurants high in the mountains during the long cold winter, or bubbling in a sauerkraut mixture at a street vendor by the sea side during the summer. It is a meat-lover’s favorite and due to its health qualities, truly a special treat. In my dom rodzinny (family home) dad was normally the one cooking it and we had it a couple times a year, often for a family gathering during the summer. My cousins, and I were not picky eaters, so us, kids, also enjoyed some. It was always delicious.

The pork hock meat has a very specific flavor and texture. The meat takes on the flavorings used, but still keeps its distinct flavor, true only to hocks. Red meat is soft and juicy and the surrounding layer of gelatinous fat, oddly satisfying. Yes, my mouth is watering.

Pork Hocks with Sauerkraut

Polish Pork Hocks with Sauerkraut {Golonka w Kapuście}

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 day + 10 min
  • Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 pork hocks (about 1.4 kg / 3 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/4 of a selery root
  • 1 small onion, quartered and burnt on a dry pan
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 peppercorns and allspice seeds each
  • 32 oz / 1 kg of sauerkraut*
  • 1/2 tsp of caraway seed

Instructions

  1. Wash and pat dry pork hocks. Make sure they've been de-haired, if not, burn off the hair first. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the fridge overnight.

  2. When ready to cook, place pork hocks in a stock pot and fill with enough water to cover. Add peeled carrots, parsnip, selery root, burnt onion, crushed garlic cloves, peppercorns and allspice. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer on low for about 1.5 hours.

  3. In the meantime, rinse sauerkraut and let drain, squeeze access water. Place half of sauerkraut in a large baking dish and sprinkle with caraway seed. Set aside.

  4. Preheat oven to 300℉ / 150℃.

  5. After 1.5 hours of cooking pork hocks, take them out, place on sauerkraut and place the rest of the sauerkraut around it. Strain liquid from cooking. Taste it. Add a bit salt and pepper, if not salty enough. Pour 2 cups / 500 ml of liquid onto your dish. Bake for 1 hour but do move sauerkraut and meat around occasionally to prevent burning. After 1 hour, turn up to 375℉ / 190℃ and roast for another 15 min. At the end of cooking, meat should be coming off the bone.

Notes

Serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes.

* my recipe for home-made sauerkraut here. If using store-bought kraut, please make sure the ingredients list cabbage and salt only (carrots and water are ok) NO VINEGAR! Just as long as the kraut soured on its own. This is the only way to get the authentic flavor.

Feel free to serve with mustard or horseradish. My recipe for home-made horseradish here.

Happy cooking and smacznego!

Anna


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