MIDORI | New Year’s Day Dinner from Ohio
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New Year’s Day Dinner from Ohio

by Kelly Gehrs, U.S. Projects Coordinator

Every New Year’s Day, my family in Cleveland gathers for a dinner of pork roast and sauerkraut to bring good luck in the coming year. This tradition is practiced by many families of German origin in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, and it originated with the ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’, who immigrated to the state before 1800 and are distinguished by their particular dialect of the West Germanic language.

A pig cannot turn its head to look behind itself, so having pork on January 1st is a symbol of looking forward and not dwelling on the past. Some people will also avoid eating chicken or eggs on New Year’s Day because the chicken scratches backwards.

Here is my Aunt Kathy’s recipe for New Year’s Day Pork and Sauerkraut:

6-7 lb boneless pork loin (for 10-12 servings)
jar of prepared mustard
salt & pepper (or meat seasoning of choice, such as McCormick’s Montreal Steak)
approx. 1/2 cup flour
apples, onions, carrots
16 oz. prepared sauerkraut (bagged, not canned)
1 tsp. Caraway seed

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Paint the roast with mustard; season all sides with salt and pepper or meat seasoning.
3. Sift a thin layer of flour over the meat. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes to sear, then REDUCE oven temperature to 300 degrees and cook for 3 hours (or 30 minutes per pound).

In the last hour of cooking:
4. Add quartered onions, apples and carrots around roast.
5. Mix sauerkraut and Caraway seed, do not drain. Top the roast with sauerkraut, including liquid.

The pork is completely done when its internal temperatures is 160 degrees. Remove the roast when the meat thermometer reads 155 degrees; allow to rest and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes before slicing.