I decided to write down for you a German classic recipe: Sauerkraut. This word has become famous and it almost stands for the German nation. But let me assure you, we don’t eat Sauerkraut and sausages daily! It is in fact a dish for the cold months. Why? Cabbage is a winter vegetable which can be easily preserved, and it contains high amount of Vitamin C which is necessary when you won’t have the usual vitamin C sources such as lemons and oranges.
It is a zesty dish and when done properly it is actually not sour at all.
500 g fresh wine sauerkraut
0,3 L vegetable broth, water or white wine; you also can use 50% water and 50% white wine)
1 medium sized onion
50 g smoked Speck (German bacon)
lard or cooking oil
1-2 laurel leaves
3 juniper berries
cumin (if you like)
a bit white wine vinegar
Sausages (Wiener, Bratwurst, Knackwurst)
How you make it
– chop bacon into small cubes
– peel onion and chop it very fine
– take out Sauerkraut and put it into a big pot; it shouldn’t have any clumps, with a fork take it apart
– add laurel leaves, pepper and juniper berries (you also can put these ingredients into a small sachet and add it to the sauerkraut)
– heat lard or oil and add onions and Speck (if you like garlic add 1 chopped garlic clove)
– fry oinions and Speck until transparent
– add Sauerkraut, salt and pepper and fill p with liquid until it is covered
– depending on what Sauerkraut you are using, let it cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes or longer. If Sauerkaraut is not pre-cooked cooking time extends up to 1 hour. Add at the end the white wine vinegar but just a little splash. It rounds up the taste, I like it but not everyone does.
– taste it and find out if additional salt and pepper is needed. Guten Appetit. Serve it with mashed potatoes and sausages. You cna heat up the sausages in the Sauerkraut if you like.
In the USA I found the best Sauerkraut here: http://www.germandeli.com/mildessabag.html (my favorite online German deli).
It is from Hengstenberg which is a great brand for pickles, red cabbage and Sauerkraut. In Germany I would buy the sauerkraut in the “Reformhaus” – this is a store which has special diet and organic, all natural only products and normally they sell home made Sauerkraut which is not canned; it is sold in a plastic bag or in a barrel.
See also my recipe on How to make your own Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut tastes even better when re-heated the next day. I like to cook it the evening before.