Not quite Bavarian-style Roast Pork Knuckles

For ages now, I’ve been wanting to make roasted pork knuckles, or more specifically, German roast pork knuckles, called Schweinshaxe.

The first time I came across a recipe for roasting pork knuckles was while watching Nigella’s Kitchen. Her recipe is for Beer-braised Pork Knuckles with Caraway, Garlic, Apples & Potatoes and looked like a really great way for The Hubbs & I to enjoy a traditional roast beast meal without having to contend with oodles and oodles of leftovers for days on end afterwards.

The second time I happened upon this recipe was while watching an Australian show on youtube called Food Safari. I really love that show but rarely ever see any of the newer episodes. The older stuff is really neat because every episode visits a different country and covers the basics of their culinary history, typical ingredients, traditional dishes, as well as introducing one or two popular Aussie chefs to make their favourite traditional dish. I’ve only seen one or two of the new series and I don’t think I like it nearly as much.

The two recipes that I cobbled together, both originally from Food Safari, “Regular” Pork Knuckles and Bavarian-style were my jumping off point:

I followed the cooking method from the Bavarian-style, then when it came time to toss the knuckles into the oven for roasting, I used the seasonings from the Regular version. Instead of using ale to pour over the knuckles, I used the leftover, super flavourful, stock that I simmered them in.I used the opportunity to try adding more flavour by drizzling some olive oil on everything then rubbing it all with salt, pepper & minced garlic, which is what the instructions from the Regular-style was all about. It worked really well! The skin went all golden brown & deliciously crunchy, and the meat was very tender & flavourful from the earlier simmering.

The pork knuckle was so well received by my parents, they totally finished the bone clean when I sent a portion home with them on Monday night. Mom even wants me to show her how to make them herself next time she happens upon some pork knuckles at the store — Colour me happy!

To round out our meal, I served the pork with my homemade(!) sauerkraut cooked with thick-cut bacon, and mashed potatoes. I wanted to try my hand at making the potato dumplings that’s included with both recipes, but it required far too much energy expenditure. Prepping & cooking the pork, on the other hand, is super simple and only takes a few minutes to roughly chop veggies, dump it all in your biggest pot, let it simmer away, then drain & roast everything until done.

Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to take a photo of our finished meal, and it was incredibly photogenic too, which was a bit of poor planning on my part. Hopefully you’ll give this recipe a try and revel in the awesomeness that is pork knuckles.

Roast Pork Knuckles

2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 onion, halved
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 small pork knuckles
corn starch, as required (to thicken gravy)

Coarse salt
Garlic
Olive Oil
Caraway seeds, extra (optional)

In a large pot bring 2.5 litres water to the boil and season with salt.

Add the carrots, celery, leek, onion, bay leaves and spices and re-boil.

Place the meat in the boiling broth and simmer on a low heat for 75mins. Scoop off any foam that rises to the surface.

Remove the meat from the broth and slash the skin with a knife. Do not discard broth!

Place the knuckles in a roasting tin, drizzle all over with olive oil. Season the knuckles well with salt, pepper, garlic and extra caraway seeds, if desired, making sure to get the seasonings into the slashes in the skin. Make sure the knuckles are placed skin-side up in the tin as best you can for roasting.

Pour enough of the remaining pork stock into the bottom of the roasting pan to come up to about 2cm. Roast @375F for 90 minutes, until skin is all crispy & crackling.

Remove the meat from the roasting tin and loosen the tasty stuff from the bottom with more of the remaining pork stock. Add the cornstarch dissolved in some of the cold pork stock and season to taste.

 

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