It’s commonly said that eating pork on New Year’s Day brings good luck, so we gave it a chance and welcomed the New Year with layered pork shank (rakott csülök). Pork shank, which consists of bone, lean meat, fat and connective tissues, is often overlooked, but if it’s cooked properly, it can be a delicious and tender cut of pork.
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lbs) smoked pork shank, bone-in or boneless
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 allspice corns
- 8-10 black pepper corns
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lbs) potatoes
- 2 big onions
- 500 g (~1 lb + 2 oz) sour cream
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
Soak the smoked pork shank in cold water for 4-5 hours (length of soaking depends on the meat’s saltiness – soaking it overnight can also be an option).
Place the meat in a large pot of clean water (discard soaking water), add bay leaf, allspice and black pepper corns, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and slowly simmer until very tender. If you want to use the meat immediately, transfer the shank onto a plate and let it cool. If you prepare the dish only the following day, let the meat cool in the cooking liquid while putting the covered pot in a cool, but frostless place.
Cook potatoes with their skin on in a pot of water until tender. Drain and peel them.
Chop the shank (meaty parts can be pulled apart easily with a fork), slice the onions.
In a small bowl mix together sour cream, eggs, crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Grease a baking pan or a casserole dish. Put a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the potatoes. Cover with half of the chopped meat, then half of the sliced onions. Now comes another layer of sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, then pour one-third of the sour cream mixture over it. Overlay with the rest of the smoked pork and onion slices. Finish layering with the remaining potatoes, salt and pepper them, and finally pour the sour cream on the top. Cook in the oven at 200°C / 392°F for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pickles or green salad.