Roasted Pork Hock with Sauerkraut and Pretzel Dumpling – Schweinshaxe vom Grill mit Sauerkraut und Brezenknödel

 

Stiftskeller Innsbruck.  A-6020 Innsbruck · Stiftgasse 1

Hours: Daily 10:00 – 24:00

http://www.stiftskeller.eu/

Bavaria and Austria (notably the western part) share many commonalities.  In addition to the language and dialect, there are a number of gastronomic similarities – for instance, Knödel dumplings and Spätzle noodles are a traditional component of both Bavarian and Austrian cuisines.   Delicacies and desserts like pretzels, Apfelstrudel and Zwetschgenkuchen are other notable examples.  In terms of main dishes, Schweinshaxe is quite popular in Bavaria but also in various parts of Austria.

Schweinshaxe is roasted pork hock.  At Stiftkeller, the dish consists of a hulking pork bone with meat attached all around.   The pork is served with a generous portion of sauerkraut and a bread dumpling in a flavorful sauce.

The pork meat is relatively tender and succulent.  It falls apart and shreds rather easily.  Crackling pork skin is heaven.  Of course, it isn’t the healthiest thing to eat but it’s certainly the best park of the pork shank.  The gelatinous parts lurking underneath make it even more mouthwatering.

Diced bacon gives the fermented cabbage a salty hint to balance its potent acidity.  The Brezenknödel pretzel dumpling is a noble variation on the more common bread roll dumpling, but it lacks much depth of flavor by itself here.  As usual, the Knödel tastes best with the accompanying gravy.  The thick, bold gravy contains lots of chopped onions which have softened and released their essence, bolstering the sauce’s flavor.  A few black peppercorns float in the sauce and provide wonderful aromatics.  Chopped parsley gives the side items an earthy herbal tone.

 

This particular Haxe is slightly overcooked, clearly noticeable from the few charred and blackened spots on one side of the pork knuckle.  Moreover, at a few spots the skin is tremendously hard.  Slicing through the skin to get to the delicate meat is a huge chore.  It seems as though the shank has been cooked and made ready to serve for some time.  This is understandable, though, since such an enormous cut demands hours in the oven.  Lastly, the meat is heavily salted – be sure to have enough liquids to wash it all down.  Beer is the perfect beverage for this.  Fortunately, Stiftskeller proudly serves refreshing, thirst quenching Augustiner beer.

This classic roasted pork shank meal is not featured in many Austrian restaurants, which is why it is a Saturday specialty.  € 11.90 is a fair price to pay for this Bavarian classic.

 

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