The last thing I can recall my uncle Jerry ever asking me to cook for him was spare ribs and sauerkraut. That was years ago. So this year for his 87th birthday I decided to make it again. To be honest, I wanted to have this but I cannot think of many people who would want to eat it. So I made dinner for him but with me in mind. Only this time the right way. Last time (how do I remember this shit?! It was at least 5 years ago.) it was OK but not great. This time it was great. The secret? Cook the damn hell out of the sauerkraut.
I don’t know why sauerkraut does not cook down very well and it may be that I don’t know what I am doing, and I don’t obviously, but I know the last time I made it, the ribs were done but the sauerkraut was still squeaky. Squeaky is fine on a hot dog or Reuben, but not fine in a pork and potato casserole. I like my sauerkraut soft and buttery.
I rinsed and put the sauerkraut in the Instapot for 30 minutes! Thirty minutes of pressure cooking would undo the toughest meat. Sauerkraut? No. So I blasted it for another 15. Only then did I put it to braise with the meat for 3 hours before putting the potatoes on top of it for the final hour.
The end product was a little slop-like but OH. MY. GOD. was it good.
As a side note I also brought some head cheese, sulz, as an appetizer that he and my mother thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t even describe how grisly this stuff looks with its gelatinous wiggle, squiggles of brain and panoply of various other questionable meat or meat-by products. I didn’t even like cutting it into slices for them.