Paprika-Spiced Pork and Sauerkraut Stew

As the trees start to turn in the Carolinas, and the air gets a bit crisp, it’s nice to spend a Sunday in relaxing and cooking for the afternoon. Tonight’s dinner – a richly-spiced, deeply savory, complex dish, arrived at through overnight marinating and slow cooking.

The pork in this dish is marinated at least overnight, I marinated for two nights. I adapted this from Food and Wine, with a couple of tweaks to make it a richer stew. I love sauerkraut, so doubled the amount; and also added less liquid than the original. I browned the meat in grapeseed oil instead of canola oil. Grapeseed oil has a higher heat tolerance than most oils, and I wanted a very good sear on the pork.

The prep is pretty easy for this one, and it makes you hungry while it cooks! I could almost taste it while it was softly simmering away through the afternoon, the fragrance from the paprika floating warmly through the house.

Enjoy! 🙂

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6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 red bell peppers, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
Kosher salt
2 pounds trimmed pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons Hungarian hot paprika
2 pounds sauerkraut, drained
One 750-ml bottle red wine
1 quart low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 bay leaves
2 Hungarian wax, banana or Cubanelle peppers, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cooked wide egg noodles, for serving
Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving

Puree half of the garlic, bell peppers and onions with 1 tablespoon of salt until smooth in a food processor. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, add the pork cubes and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the pork, wipe off any marinade and pat dry with paper towels; this is important to get a good sear. In a large Dutch oven, heat the grapeseed oil. Working in batches, add the pork to the pot and brown over moderate heat, turning once, about 4 minutes per batch. Do not crowd the pieces of pork, or they will steam instead of searing. Transfer the browned pork to a plate. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add both of the paprikas and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Return the pork to the pot and add the sauerkraut, wine, broth, marjoram and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the pork is nearly tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in the remaining garlic, bell peppers and onions. Add the Hungarian wax peppers and cook until the pork and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the black pepper and season with salt. Serve in bowls over egg noodles with a dollop of crème fraîche.

MAKE AHEAD: The finished stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

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