Bavarian Inspired Pulled Pork with German Potato Dumplings Recipe
Pulled pork for many is a dish cooked outdoors on the bbq or grill, long and slow, to ensure the meat is incredibly tender and can literally be pulled gently from the bone. It will frequently be made from a shoulder cut of pork. In this instance, the pulled pork recipe is inspired by the popular Bavarian dish, schweinshaxe, a grilled knuckle of pork which is served whole and usually with a potato accompaniment such as potato dumplings (reiberknödel) and sauerkraut. In Bavaria, the pork knuckle will be cooked on a large form of rotisserie grill to ensure the skin is extra crispy. In this recipe, the pork shank is cooked in the oven and the fatty skin removed and discarded prior to service. The sauerkraut (which takes about six weeks to make from start to finish) is substituted by some cabbage simply braised in a little oil.
A Brief Guide to Traditional Bavarian Schweinshaxe, Potato Dumplings and Sauerkraut
How About this for a Bargain Rotisserie Grill?
Schweinshaxe, potato dumplings and sauerkraut has a special significance for me as it was the first meal I ever ate - a number of years ago now - in Munich. There have been very few of my many trips since where I haven't enjoyed the dish at least once. You will find schweinshaxe served in traditional Bavarian restaurants, tourist hot spots such as the Hofbräuhaus and other large beer halls, as well as - of course - at the world famous event that is Oktoberfest, every late September/early October. The size of the pork knuckle and the price you are charged will vary hugely, with popular tourist venues often representing the least value for money. It is more than worth, therefore, if you do want to sample this dish in Munich, looking at some of the smaller restaurants and cafes, where you will often see the pork prominently displayed as it grills.
List of IngredientsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- 1 3lb pork shank
- 1lb (gross weight) baking potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp farina (semolina) flour
- 1 small egg
- Generous pinch ground nutmeg
- ¼ white cabbage, sliced with core removed
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- BBQ sauce to serve
- 2 tsp chopped chives to garnish
Preparation and Cooking InstructionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Put your oven on to preheat to 350F/170C.
- Lay the pork knuckle in an ovenproof dish and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour a little water in to the dish, just enough to comfortably cover the base.
- Cover the dish securely but loosely with tinfoil and place it in to your oven for four hours.
- When the pork is in the oven, add the peeled and roughly chopped potato to a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a simmer until the potatoes are soft. This should take about twenty-five minutes.
- Drain the potatoes through a colander and return them to the hot, empty pot to steam for a few minutes. This allows a lot of the moisture to escape and prevents the mash being too wet. Mash the potatoes, cover and set aside to cool completely.
- Take the pork from the oven and very carefully remove the foil. Check the pork is fully cooked by piercing the thickest part with a metal skewer. The skewer should penetrate right to the bone with minimal resistance and the juices should run clear. Cover again loosely with the foil and leave to rest for half an hour.
- While the pork is resting, put the mashed potato, flours, egg and nutmeg in to a large bowl. Season with salt and stir well to combine. If it is overly sticky, you can add a very little more flour but be careful not to add too much.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and divide the dumpling mix in to four equal portions. Lightly flour your hands and roll the dumplings in to balls. They should each be slightly larger than a golf ball.
- Lay the dumplings gently in to the water and reduce the heat to have the water gently simmering. The dumplings will take about ten to fifteen minutes to cook and you will know they are ready when they float on top of the water.
- Gently heat the vegetable oil in a pot and add the cabbage. Season with salt and sautee gently for about seven or eight minutes until the cabbage is just soft.
- Lift the pork to a plate. Remove and discard the skin and excess fat. Take two forks, one in each hand, and tease the meat from the bones. You should be left with two perfectly clean bones.
- Lift the potato dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon to a plate. Let them steam and dry for just a couple of minutes.
Plating Up and Serving Your MealClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Divide the pork and cabbage evenly between two serving plates and lay two potato dumplings alongside in each instance.
- Scatter the chopped chives over the potato dumplings and cabbage.
- Add the BBQ sauce to the pork if desired.
- Your meals are now ready for immediate service.
Guten appetit! - as they say in Bavaria...
Why Not Enjoy an Authentic Bavarian Beer with Your Meal?
In the photo further up this page, the schweinshaxe meal was served and very much enjoyed with a maβ (litre) of Bavarian helles beer, similar in some ways to American beer or British lager (though usually much stronger in terms of ABV!) In this instance, the pulled pork and German dumplings meal is served with weissbier (wheat beer) and very enjoyable it was, too.