Cookbook:Roasted Pork with Potatoes and Onions (Schweinsbraten)

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Roasted Pork with Potatoes and Onions (Schweinsbraten)
CategoryMain course recipes
TimePrep: 2 hours

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes | Austrian Cuisine

Schweinsbraten, also called bratl or roast salted pork, is a traditional meal of the Austrian, Bavarian, and even Bohemian cuisine. Nowadays, a Bratl is a dish for social events rather than an everyday meal. Served in a tray as “Bratl in der Rein”, it is often the highlight of social get-togethers. Typical side dishes are “Stöcklkraut” (parboiled and roasted cabbage) and “Knödel” (dumplings). Even the cold bratl is a very tasty snack, particularly in combination with bread, horseradish and a glass of beer or “Most” (a typical Austrian beverage, which is comparable to cider). This plain fare is worth a try.

History[edit | edit source]

Historically, electricity was not widely available in Austria, so cold storage was limited. Common food preservation techniques back then were to pickle or to salt it. Adding herbs to the salty bath gave more taste to salted meat or pork. This increased its keeping quality, but not for an unlimited time. Therefore, it was not unusual for our grandparents to be served a putrid piece of Bratl. People usually ate all of it, as nobody dared to throw away valuable food at that time. Nowadays, this would be unthinkable.

When a Bratl was served for lunch, the biggest chunk of pork was reserved for the head of the servants (the “Großknecht”) and marked with a slice of potato on top of it. Precut pieces of Bratl were served to each person on the table, and the size of the piece reflected one's position within the hierarchy of servants. After the ranking, it was everyone’s own choice how much of the lunch ration was eaten for lunch and how much was spared for dinner. Considering the hard daily work people had to do back then, this was certainly not an easy decision.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

Procedure[edit | edit source]

  1. Preheat the oven to 170–190°C.
  2. Wash the meat thoroughly and pat it dry with a paper towel. For a crispy crunch on top of the meat, cut a diamond pattern (each about 1 inch long) into the fat side.
  3. Rub salt, pepper and garlic well into the meat.
  4. Fill a roasting tray with water to a depth of 2 cm and place the meat with the fat side down in it. Sprinkle it with caraway seeds and place onion rings on it.
  5. Wash the peeled potatoes and place them next to the roast. Now roast the meat in the oven at 220°C for about 1 hour.
  6. As soon as the potatoes are soft, take them out of the dish and cover them with foil. Then turn the fat side of the meat up, sprinkle it again with caraway seeds and thinly sliced onions.
  7. Roast it for another 30–45 minutes, basting it frequently with juices from the dish or beer. If there is not enough liquid, you may add water. Only baste with little broth each time. Brush the crispy rind once more with cold beer towards the end of the cooking time. This ensures a crispy crackling.
  8. The meat is done when only juice oozes out (no blood), and the crust should be brown and crunchy.
  9. Deglaze the pan with beer and hot water and season it with salt and pepper. Scrape all browned bits sticking to the pan for a tasty sauce. Cut the meat into thin slices and arrange them with gravy, potatoes, and bread dumplings on a plate.

Notes, tips, and variations[edit | edit source]

  • The ideal roast gravy is brown and translucent. Don’t thicken it with flour or cornstarch. This is deemed a deadly sin for Bratl-Connoisseurs!
  • To add a wonderful aroma to the gravy, pour some beer over the meat shortly before it is done.