Because the nights are still chilly although the days are sunny and our bodies are tired from the changing of seasons and want something comforting in their tummy to weather the change… pun intended.
And of course sauerkraut is so easy and so versatile. You can eat it with roasts, hotdogs, brats or vegetarian if you just skip the bacon/ham. You can make a casserole with rice and ground meat or a Reuben.
Even though I am not German I have perfected the art of making sauerkraut over the years and it’s a dish we all enjoy. My husband (the German) loves the rest cold out of the pot or rewarmed on dark bread with lots of mustard.Sauerkraut is generally best when served the next day.
Read more to find the recipe with it’s secret ingredient…
My secret ingredients are 2 raw potatoes and 1 peeled apple roughly grated and grinding the spices to mix their flavors before adding them to the suaerkraut. The apple adds sweetness and fruitness and the potatoes makes the sauerkraut creamy by adding natural starch.
Classic German Sauerkraut
- 1 -2 pounds/550-1000 grams of raw sauerkraut (canned, bagged or fresh from the market)
- 2 shallots or 1 large onion – peeled and coursely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and roughly grated
- 1 medium apple peeled, cored and roughly grated
- 4 slices of chopped bacon, Black Forest ham or Canadian bacon (leave our for vegetarian version)
- 2 small bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
- 1/2 tsp fresh caraway
- 1/2 tsp juniper berries
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 red pepper berries
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 TBSP shortening or oil
- 3/4 – 1 cup per pound of sauerkraut of broth, white wine, apple cider or water – some people use champagne! use more liquid if necessary.
- 2 tsps of sugar – optional if your sauerkraut is very sour
Putting it all together:
- Place all the dry spices in the spice grinder or mortar and grind until medium fine to fine and set aside.
- Open the sauerkraut packaging and taste a little bit – if the raw sauerkraut is very, very sour put it in a colander and rinse it thoroughly.
- Take out a large stewing pot or slow cooker. Add the oil or shortening and heat it up over a medium flame, add the onion and the bacon if using and stir and brown lightly, do not burn. Add half of the spices, stir and warm them, then add the sauerkraut and 1/2 of the water/wine/broth. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Cook a further 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the potatoes and apple, the rest of the spices and liquid, along with the sugar if using. Stir well and bring to a boil.You may add more liquid here if it is not enough.
- Place the pot on the lowest possible flame/heat source and cook at a simmer for anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours.Make sure the heat is very low, stir every 30 miuntes, if the sauerkraut is thick and tends to stick, you need more liquid and stirring. But don’t drown it.
- You can also turn it off after 1.5 hours and cook it again the next day. The longer the better.
Serve with anything you like anyway you like it.