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HIGHLIFE FOR LOWLIFES GUIDE TO COOKING: Schweinhaxe with Potato & Sauerkraut

Fall Comfort Food
Comfort food is a loosely defined concept in our culture but is almost always associated with a nostalgic feeling towards food the early fall through the late winter. Comfort food usually implies a few basic commonalities, the food is usually relatively easy to cook, hearty and high in calories and almost always inexpensive to make.
We take the time to cook more as we spend less time outdoors as the days get shorter and nights get longer and cooler in the fall. The idea of having your oven on to cook something for 3 hours after work seems a more reasonable proposition when it’s not 80⁰ out and light until 9pm. We also naturally gravitate to more substantial meals, the simple good things that are warm and filling.
Fall and Winter cooking is my favorite food season, not only because of the nostalgic joy of comfort food, but because of the more inexpensive cuts of meat that make their way into so many different low and slow dishes this time of year. The cheaper cuts need more effort and finesse to get right than say grilling a steak in the summer would and provide their own unique set of culinary challenges, but are well worth the time and effort to get right.
A great local outlet for the cheaper cuts is Joes Meat Market, a family owned and operated market that also has an outlet on weekends at the Rochester Public Market.

Joe’s Meat Market
6845 Slocum Rd, Ontario, NY 14519
(315) 524-8252

Schweinhaxe with Potato & Sauerkraut

Schweinhaxe or just “Haxe” for short is an old Bavarian classic with many different variations. This hearty and inexpensive meal is very simple to prepare. Properly executed this dish has a perfect balance of unique flavors and textures. It all comes together in one large Dutch oven and is perfect for those cool early fall nights where you still have a little bit of daylight on your side before dinnertime.

You will need:

  • 2 large pork hocks
  • 2lb Sauerkraut (drained)
  • 1 ½ LB Potatoes (any kind, skin on or peeled)
  • Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Paprika (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • German Mustard
  • Fresh Parsley (fine chopped for garnish)

Place pork hocks, potatoes and bay leaf in a large Dutch oven evenly spaced apart. Add a dash of salt and pepper and fill with water until all the ingredients are submerged. On your stovetop bring to a boil uncovered on a medium high heat. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and gently simmer 20-25 minutes. While this is cooking preheat oven to 400⁰F.

Remove the hocks and potatoes from the cooking liquid (now a light pork stock) and set to rest on a cutting board. Pour the stock from the Dutch oven through a mesh strainer into a separate container. Spread out the drained sauerkraut evenly along the bottom of the Dutch oven forming a bed, then add in just enough of the strained pork stock to keep the sauerkraut moist (about 1-2 cups*).

Season the pork hocks on all sides with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Place the hocks upright in Dutch oven on top of the bed of sauerkraut along with the potatoes. Bake for 1 hour or until the pork is cooked internally to 165⁰F and the skin is dark and crispy. Plate each hock with the potatoes and sauerkraut, garnish with fresh parsley and serve with a generous dollop of German mustard.

The pork stock used to flavor the sauerkraut can be substituted with any light German beer.

Sharpen your blades and chew the fat:


J.Nevadomski is an accomplished musician, artist, art director and gallery curator from Rochester NY. He has recorded with musicians from all over the world for his project “The Fragile Path” and is a veteran artist whose paintings have been featured in galleries, newspapers and exhibitions throughout Western NY. In 2012 he was the “artist guest of honor” at RocCon: Rochester’s Anime, Sci-Fi and comic book convention. He is on the board of directors for Flower City Comic Con (FC3) serving as art director, is the resident curator for the art gallery at Bread & Water Theatre. He lives in the Park Ave area of Rochester, keeps a yearly urban vegetable garden and regularly cooks and hosts dinner parties for friends and colleagues.