The moment that makes you realize that the work was worth it: the first cut of the roast pork.

The recipe: roast pork with dumplings and coleslaw

This is how Bavaria tastes

That yearning for Munich is linked in no small part to the eager anticipation of Bavarian cuisine. So what could offer greater comfort than a crusted roast from your own oven? Munich’s chef Sven Christ shows how to make Munich specialities in a normal kitchen and with readily available ingredients. This time: roast pork with homemade dumplings, a true classic for the weekend!

List of ingredients for a roast pork

  • 1 shoulder of pork, 2-3 kg
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1/4 celeriac
  • 1/2 l dark beer (or wheat beer)
  • 1/2 l malt beer
  • 1/2 l water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp caraway
  • 3 pimento berries
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1/2 pretzel (the other half is used for the dumplings)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of cold butter

 

This is how it's done - the roast pork recipe:

First cut the vegetables into cubes unpeeled and roast them in the roasting tray used for the joint with a little oil in the oven at 170 degrees. Then use a very sharp knife to make a diamond-shaped incision about 5 mm deep into the shoulder of the pork on its layer of fat. Rub the layer of fat with salt. Place the shoulder together with the caraway, pimento and juniper into the roasting tray (the layer of fat facing upwards) and reduce the heat to 160 degrees.

After 10 minutes, add the beer and water and turn the meat over. Add the remaining spices and the pretzel. Roast the joint for about 1 hour. Then turn the meat over and roast for another 30 minutes, always checking whether the crust is already rising. Now mix some salt with water and keep to hand. Take the roasting tray with the roast out of the oven and pour the vegetables with the sauce into a casserole dish. Some like to mash the vegetables in order to bind them, but I prefer to reduce the sauce and add some cold butter at the end.

Dab the roast with salt water on the crust and place it back in the oven, now raising the temperature to 180 degrees. The roasting tray should sit on the lowest level shelf; from now on, always keep an eye on the crust! When it is nicely golden brown and full of bubbles, it tastes best. The sauce should be reduced by half and shine with a nice and creamy finish.

List of ingredients for potato dumplings

  • 1 kg floury potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of curd
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 pretzel
  • Salt

 

Turn potato dumplings yourself:

Peel the potatoes and boil or steam half of them until they are soft. Grate the other half and squeeze it firmly into a cloth so that the liquid is expelled. Cut the pretzel into small croutons and fry them in a pan with a little oil. Bring the two potato masses together and mix with the quark, egg yolk, salt and nutmeg.

Add the starch slowly. Press one portion of dough flat using your left hand, then add two croutons and seal the dumpling. Prepare all the dumplings in this way and, in the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then turn down the heat and add the dumplings. Leave to stand in hot water for about 25 minutes. When they rise by themselves, they are ready.

Ingredient list for coleslaw

(best to prepare the day before)

  • 1 pointed or white cabbage
  • 100 g pancetta, smoked (Wammerl)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 stalks of parsley
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

 

Recipe for the coleslaw with pancetta:

Quarter the pointed cabbage lengthwise, remove the stalk and cut into fine strips. Mix these in a bowl with the apple vinegar, salt and sugar and mix together vigorously for two minutes. Heat the caraway in a pan without fat until it starts to release its aroma, then add it to the cabbage.

Remove any excess rind from the pancetta and then cut it into fine cubes. Slowly fry the cubes without adding fat in a pan until crispy. Drain the cubes and add them to the cabbage. Mix everything once again and leave to stand covered in the fridge.

After five hours (preferably overnight) mix with chopped parsley and some sunflower oil and serve.

Roast pork - a Bavarian tradition

As a Munich resident or a person living in Bavaria, you are familiar with that Sunday pilgrimage. Not necessarily to church, but to that trusted eatery where the best roast pork is served. This can be in your surrounding area, for example in Aying or Glonn, or in any one of the city’s great taverns. People like to meet on Sundays for “roast pork”.

We like it even better during the day than in the evening, because often enough even all the caraway seeds are not enough to digest all the roast pork, so it's better to take an hour's walk afterwards. The roast pork is usually enjoyed along with a light or a dark beer, but rarely a wheat beer because that is already quite filling and can be found in abundance in the sauce.

The roast pork is usually enjoyed along with a light or a dark beer, but rarely a wheat beer because that is already quite filling and can be found in abundance in the sauce.

Right up to this point, most people in Munich agree, but then again, views can also differ once more: Should it be a roast from the shoulder or from the stomach? With bread or potato dumplings? Or one of each, with coleslaw or with red cabbage, dark beer or broth? It has to be crispy, nice and crunchy, fresh from the oven and by no means warmed up, not to mention: plenty of sauce!

As a host, you should always maintain a firm standpoint on the matter, in the recipe suggested therefore, presents roast pork, as it has always been with me and the family I come from. The joint of meat comes from the shoulder, not just a section of it, but simply the whole shoulder, which weighs about 2-3 kilograms. The roast loses volume during the cooking process, so there needs to be something left over – a must in all actuality – because otherwise it will have been too little and then you can't look forward to anything the next day, for example, some delicious bread with cold roast and horseradish or even a Gröstl - a traditional stunner involving crispy pork, potatoes and a fried egg.

Preparing roast pork requires many small, precise steps. With time, however, these will become internalised so much so that it is no longer a problem to make this dish.

Preparing roast pork requires many small, precise steps. With time, however, these will become internalised so much so that it is no longer a problem to make this dish. It is a work of love, the success of which you can quickly experience for yourself, and the feeling inside me is like an ancient, deep-seated joy that always brings me back to my family, when my grandpa and grandma were still sitting at the table or some of the countless uncles and aunts.

Dishes are often described as rooted in one’s homeland or even as something by which we identify. With roast pork, I can also speak of “our” dish, a common denominator in a circle of friends, a table at which people always sit a little closer together.

 

Tips for the perfect roast pork

A roast from the belly is sure to be nice and tender, that's for sure: it has more crust and is easier to prepare, but the shoulder tastes more intense and juicy. The belly is fattier and you need more caraway, but you can also smear the cooled frying fat on bread and eat while on the go.

One thing is an absolute no no: some barbecue or meat fans recommend injecting pineapple juice into the roast so that the enzymes make the meat more tender – what a schoolboy error! Given that beer is in the recipe and we do not tolerate lemon slices in our wheat beer, the addition of fruit to the roast pork should be strictly avoided. Fructose and a light pineapple flavour have no place in roasting.

The layer of fat under the skin may be finger-thick, but then we cut it with the sharpest knife in a diamond shape. Only the fat layer is salted in the roast pork, but this is then massaged generously and well. This ensures the meat does not become dry, but rather the dripping fat transports the salt around and through the shoulder.

The professional conjures up the sauce using the bone, but we have neither the time nor the options to do so; it is really only worth it if you're looking to do three litres or more. So then you have the roasted vegetables from the onion, celeriac and parsley root and carrot, nicely roasted and placed into the oven with the roast.

Together with the beer, a wonderful sauce then develops, and now comes the first essential step: at the moment when the beer is poured on, the roast should lie on the rind so that it can soak up the liquid, and should only be turned over after 30 minutes. This causes the rind to swell and develop into a thoroughly crispy crust. When deciding on the right beer to use, I typically go for a dark beer and a malt beer as this ensures enough sauce without becoming too bitter and it develops a nice colour.

 

Dumplings as a side dish with roast pork

For the roast pork, I have potato dumplings and coleslaw. I love it when the coleslaw mixes with the gravy! The dumplings are nice and fluffy and filled with pretzel croutons so that they don't tear when being cooked. For these half and half dumplings we need floury potatoes, half of them we boil or steam and mash, the other half we grate very finely.

Now we wring both together to form a dough; a tablespoon of starch can't hurt and a spoonful of quark, before then forming the dough and placing the croutons inside, shaping the dumplings into a uniform size and then letting them steep in hot salted water until they rise by themselves.

When everything is ready, the sauce has been poured off and reduced, the crust has been brushed with salt water once again and is super crispy, and now it's time to carve and serve. Two dumplings per person should be enough and two slices of roast. That's how I learned it and it has served me well. With four to six people, the roast should certainly be enough and there might even be some left over.

Questions about dessert don’t hang in the air, this is something I rarely experience. A schnapps or a walk maybe, and an hour later perhaps a coffee or even some cake.

 

Text: Sven Christ; Photos: Frank Stolle

Covid-19

The City of Munich is also affected by the nationwide measures to contain the coronavirus. The good news: hotels and accommodation establishments, indoor and outdoor gastronomy and shops are open. But there are some restrictions. All other important information about the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.