Hungarian pork and sauerkraut casserole
This layered sausage and sauerkraut dish comes from the Transylvania, or Erdély, region of Hungary and Romania. Erdelyi rakott kaposzta is Transylvanian comfort food, rich and warming for a wintertime meal.
- Rice -- 1 cup
- Stock or water -- 2 cups
- Oil -- 2 tablespoons
- Paprika -- 2 tablespoons
- Onions, minced -- 2
- Pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes -- 1 pound
- Spicy pork sausage (see variations), sliced into rounds -- 1/2 pounds
- Stock or water -- 1 1/2 cups
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry -- 2 pounds
- Hard-boiled eggs (optional), sliced into rounds -- 3
- Sour cream -- 1 cup
- Bacon -- 4 pieces
- Paprika -- 1 teaspoon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the rice, 2 cups stock or water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set off to the side, covered.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the paprika and stir to just cook through and color the oil, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not brown.
Add pork, sausage and the 1 1/2 cups of stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add more stock or water if necessary to keep the pan from drying out. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place 1/3 of the rinsed sauerkraut in the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. Spread 1/2 of the cooked rice over the sauerkraut. Then spread 1/2 of the meat over the rice. Lay egg slices over the pork and sausages. Repeat these layers a second time, finishing with a layer of sauerkraut.
Spread the sour cream over the top of the sauerkraut and lay the bacon strips neatly over the sour cream. Sprinkle the top of the dish with paprika for garnish.
Place the casserole in oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it is bubbling and browned on top.
Try to use a Eastern European sausage like kolbász, kielbasa or Polish sausage. If unavailable, just use a spicy Italian sausage.
Some recipes substitute cooked sliced potatoes for the rice
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