International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Schweinebraten

Schweinebraten Recipe (German roast pork)

(German roast pork)

Image Creative Commons by Mini OzzY

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Roast pork is a popular Sunday meal in Central Europe. In Germany, Schweinebraten is most often served with braised cabbage or sauerkraut, dumplings and a fine pilsener. In the Czech Republic this dish is known as vepřová pečeně. In Poland, it is called pieczeń wieprzowa.

It's best to use a good-quality pork roast that still a nice cap of fat and skin on it. The fat naturally bastes the meat protects it from drying out. The skin turns crackly and crisp and adds amazing flavor and texture to the finished roast. If you can't find pork roast with the skin, at least make sure there is a layer of fat. If you can't find one with a layer of fat, then lay a few pieces of thick-cut bacon on the roast for the time it is roasting uncovered.

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • Pork butt or shoulder -- 4 to 6 pounds
  • Caraway seeds -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 tablespoon
  • Pepper -- 2 teaspoons
  • Oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Onions, roughly chopped -- 3
  • Carrots, roughly chopped -- 3
  • Water, stock, white wine or beer -- 1 cup
  • Flour -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • Butter -- 2 or 3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Rub the pork all over with the caraway, salt, pepper and oil and marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Remove the meat from the refrigerator from 30 minutes to an hour before roasting to let it come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the onions and carrots and place in the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to comfortably fit the roast. Pour the water, stock, white wine or beer into the pan.
  3. Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover the pan with foil, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the foil from the pan and turn the roast fat side up. Cut crosshatches in the fat in a diamond pattern, but try to avoid cutting into the meat itself. Place the roast, uncovered, back in the oven. Roast for another 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours, or until the roast is tender and well browned on the outside. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast should read 165°F.
  5. Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
  6. Knead the flour and butter together with your fingers to make a doughy paste and set aside in a small bowl. Strain the pan juices from the roasting pan into a sauce pan. Save the vegetables to serve with the roast if you like, or use instead of butter and flour to thicken the gravy (see variations). Add enough water, stock, wine or beer to the pan juices to make 2 cups. 
  7. Bring the pan juices to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk small pieces of the butter-flour paste into the pan juices until the gravy is thickened to your liking. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  8. Slice the roast thinly and serve with the pan gravy on the side.

Schweinebraten Variations

  • To thicken the gravy without using flour and butter, puree 2 cups of the pan juices with some of the roasting vegetables and strain.
  • Finish the gravy with a little butter, cream or sour cream if you like.
  • Other seasonings that can be rubbed into the pork before roasting include marjoram, minced garlic or your favorite mustard.