Thanks to my Hungarian, Czech, Austrian, and Bavarian heritage, I've come up with the perfect sauerkraut recipe.
Sauerkraut With German, Austrian, and Czech Influence
My Viennese grandmother taught me a recipe for making sauerkraut that is almost a meal by itself. Sometimes we had smoked pork chops or bratwurst along with a steaming plate of this Bohemian specialty. Other times we simply ate Omi's homemade sauerkraut with a little pasta or a warm pretzel. A few days later, she'd make sauerkraut soup by adding a little stock to her dish.
Back home in Germany, my mother improved this sauerkraut recipe by adding her personal touch. Her son, your chef, has his own interpretation of sauerkraut Bohemian/Bavarian style, and that is what you will find on this page: The recipe for a rich and filling sauerkraut influenced by my Hungarian, Czech, Austrian, and Bavarian heritage. Even without the addition of sausages or meats, this is not a vegetarian meal.
Czech it out!
Sauerkraut Prep: What Will We Need?
To make this Bohemian sauerkraut, we start with a base of chopped cabbage that has been pickled in brine. Plain old canned sauerkraut is fine, and German- or Bavarian-style kraut will do. It doesn't really matter what kind of canned sauerkraut we use; we'll drain it anyway and prepare it anew with this recipe. I suggest you even rinse it a bit so our flavors won't be overpowered by too much "sour."
- 2-quart jars of good-quality sauerkraut. (How do we know it's good quality? It costs more.)
- 1 pound of smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large russet potato
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cold roux
- 1 large beef bouillon cube
- 1 cup of red wine--aah, make that 2 cups!
What if I don't want to start with the canned stuff?
You can make your own by shredding, salting, and leaving cabbage to ferment in a de-oxygenated environment for 4-6 weeks.
Let's Make Some Bohemian Sauerkraut!
- Fry the bacon strips halfway, then add chopped onion and garlic. Cook until the bacon is just starting to get crispy.
- During the last 5 minutes, add the caraway seeds, beef bouillon cube, and brown sugar to the pan. Cook this until it's all golden brown and the bacon is crispy.
- Add the 2 cups of wine and the sauerkraut and let this come to a simmer.
- Grate the raw potato into the mix!
- After seasoning with paprika and black pepper, mix the cold roux (equal amounts of flour and butter, gently cooked for about 15 minutes) into the kraut.
- Turn the heat to a low setting and simmer the dish for an hour or two.
Bohemian sauerkraut, like so many other stews, tastes even better when reheated the next day. I'm hungry already!
© 2008 Achim Thiemermann