Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apple Cider and White Wine Braised Pork Shoulder Käsespätzle Paired with 2004 Cuvee Jean Baptiste Adam Aslace Kaefferkopf Riesling

This pairing was inspired by my love for German food and a desire to master the art of making spaetzle.  My history of spaetzle consumption includes two forms; spaetzle prepared in a German restaurant, and the mediocre (at best) store-purchased-dehydrated spaetzle.  The difference between the two is akin to the difference between fresh homemade pasta and the stuff in the box on the grocery shelf.

After a bit of research and a couple trial runs, I found that making spaetzle at home is quick, easy, and fun.  Honestly, it is dramatically easier than making fresh pasta.  For this meal, I decided to use the spaetzle in a German casserole called Käsespätzle.  This dish is a traditional German recipe popular for it's ease in preparation, and who can argue with cheese and onions?

To accompany the cheesy spaetzley goodness, I decided to braise a pork shoulder in apple cider and white wine.  Another easy preparation of what I would consider German comfort food.

My pairing selection for our little Germany night began with the idea of a dry Riesling.  As I ventured to the wine cellar and found I had no German Rieslings (they usually don't last long around our house) and found a French Riesling - a 2004 Cuvee Jean Baptiste Adam Aslace Kaefferkopf Riesling.  A French Riesling, why not?  The Germans and French get along well right?

This Riesling met my desires of a dry riesling with healthy acidity and prominent fruit.  Although in general, Rieslings are intended to be consumed young, the acidity and complex structure of this wine revealed beautiful minerality imparted by the granite dominated soil from the region.  Although nearly 8 years old, this wine aged exceptionally well.

In summary, the pairing was spectacular with the fruit, acidity, and minerality complementing the warm tender flavors of the braised pork shoulder and käsespätzle.


White Wine and Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder


  • 1 fresh pork shoulder
  • 6 garlic cloves, cut into halves and imbedded in the pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 medium onions, halved lengthwise then sliced
  • Add equal portions of cider and white wine to bring liquid to about 1 inch below top of pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  1. Score fat and any skin on pork in a crosshatch pattern. Make slits all over meat with a small sharp knife and insert garlic. Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over moderately high heat then brown meat on all sides.  Remove pork shoulder and set aside.
  1. Add onions to pot and sauté over moderately high heat until tender.
  2. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized.
  1. Deglaze with a cup of cider and return pork to pot.
  2. Add a cup of wine, then add equal amounts wine and cider until liquid level is about 1 inch below the top of the pork shoulder.
  1. Cover pot and braise pork until very tender - 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  1. Transfer pork to a serving dish and let rest while boiling cooking juices with onions until mixture is reduced by ½.  Adjust seasoning and serve over sliced pork shoulder.



Caramelized Onions

  • 2 tsp. olive oil (20 ml)
  • 1 tsp. butter 9(10 ml)
  • 2 medium onions (400 grams) quartered and sliced
Spaetzle (per person)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  •  2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 oz. Gruyère
  • Butter and breadcrumbs for casserole dish


  1. Start by making the caramelized onions about one hour before the casserole needs to go into the oven. Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick pan on medium, turn heat to low and add onions. Stir every few minutes until onions are lightly browned and sweet enough for your taste. 
  2. Turn off heat and set onions aside.
  3. Mix the dough several minutes until glossy. The dough should be wetter than brownie batter but not as wet as pancake batter.
  4. Dip a wood board into the boiling water, to help the dough slide off when you are making your noodles.  I found using a glass cutting board works better than a "spaetzle board."
  5. Spread dough over spaetzle board about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Use a spaetzle knife, scraper, or pastry knife to slide 1/4 inch strips of the dough into the not-quite-boiling water.  A little twist of the rist, and keeping everything wet will aid in the process. 
  7. The spaetzle noodles are done when they float to the top.  Ladle the spaetzle from the water and place in a bowl.  Repeat from step 5 until dough is used.
  8. Butter and line a casserole dish with bread crumbs.
  9. When noodles are done, add them to the pan with the onions. Add the grated nutmeg and 3/4 of the grated cheese and stir to mix.
  10. Place noodles into the casserole, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes. 
In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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