Pork Hocks, Cabbage and Rye Berry Casserole

By Miche Genest


2 smoked pork hocks
2 unsmoked pork hocks (*for pork hocks, substitute any fatty cut suitable for braising, such as brisket)
1 medium onion
1 sugar beet
2 carrots
4 sprigs thyme
a few celery leaves

¼ cup rhubarb juice
¼ cup birch syrup


  1. Place pork hocks in a large pot and cover with water by half an inch. Bring to the boil over high heat, skimming the scum that rises to the surface.
  2. Once scum has stopped rising, add vegetables and seasonings.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, until meat is practically falling off the bone.
  4. Remove pork hocks from broth.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk rhubarb juice and birch syrup together. Brush glaze over the pork hocks. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, basting frequently. Remove pork hocks from oven and allow to cool. Reserve stock.
While pork hocks are cooking, prepare the Cabbage and Rye Berry mixture.

4 cups raw rye berries
2 Tbsp butter or pork fat
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small cabbage (about 4 cups, chopped)
2 Tbsp dried celery leaves
1 Tbsp dried thyme


  1. Rinse rye berries under running water. Place in a medium pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minute, until softening but not fully cooked. Drain and reserve.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic, cook for 2 minutes to soften and add cabbage. Crumble in thyme leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, until cabbage is beginning to soften.
  3. In a large casserole with a cover, combine partially-cooked rye and vegetables and enough stock to come to within half an inch of the surface of the mixture.
  4. Place casserole in a 375F oven and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very little liquid remains, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove pork hock meat from bones and arrange serving-sized pieces over top of the cabbage mixture. Return to the oven and heat through for 15 minutes.
Serve at once. Serves 6 to 8 people