Adapted from Sam Hayward, proprietor of Fore Street restaurant in Portland, Maine.
- Prep Time :
- Cook Time :
- Ready Time :
6 hour, 0 min
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 counts juniper berries
- 2 counts sprig fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh savory leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 counts fennel seeds
- 12 ounce slab smoked bacon
- 1/4 cup sweet apple cider
- 2 pounds naturally fermented sauerkraut
- sea salt To taste
- ground black pepper To taste
- 1 1/2 pounds small yukon gold potatoes
Heat oven to 275 degrees.
Place peppercorns in a small skillet over medium-high head. Toast until they are crisp and give off a nutty aroma. Grind to a coarse powder, gradually adding and pounding in juniper berries, rosemary, savory, thyme and fennel seeds.
Rub bacon with mixture, then place in a small ovenproof dish. Add cider and enough water to come halfway up sides of bacon. Cover lightly with foil and bake 3 hours, turning bacon halfway during cooking. Add boiling water as necessary to maintain level.
Remove dish from oven and cool until warm; bacon should be very tender but intact. Place a heavy plate on bacon to weigh it as it cools. Place dish in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain sauerkraut and place in a ceramic baking dish. Break bacon slab into large irregular pieces or cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, and scatter over kraut.
Remove 2 tbsp solidified fat from bacon dish and reserve. Stir remaining jelled liquid and fat in dish, adding enough water so there is about 1/2 cup in disk. Spoon 1/3 cup over bacon and kraut, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.
While bacon and kraut bake, prepare potatoes. If potatoes have smooth skins, they need not be peeled. Cut in two lengthwise. Melt reserved fat in a medium skillet and add potatoes cut side down. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Saute over medium heat until browned on bottoms, about 5 minutes.
Turn and continue to cook for a few minutes, then add remaining braising liquid and remove from heat.
When kraut has cooked for 30 minutes, remove from oven and push kraut to one side of dish. Add potatoes and their liquid to other side, and return to oven until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.