Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dressed Up Sauerkraut

A dressed-up sauerkraut dish, made from commercially bagged or canned sauerkraut, adding in some bacon and bacon drippings, brown sugar or honey, and a few simple seasonings. Perfect for sandwiches or in a sausage and potatoes skillet meal.

Dressed Up Sauerkraut

Oh dear. I know that some of y'all are thinking... "a sauerkraut recipe?" Well, first it's not really a recipe.

Making sauerkraut takes about a two week commitment and a lot of tending to with skimming and such. Too long for me and I don't like it enough for that kind of investment - but, what I will do, is take an off the shelf commercial product and dress it up a bit!

I'll be right up front with ya though. While some folks love the stuff, I've never been a super big fan of sauerkraut. As with many other southerners, while I do love the flavor combination of sweet and sour, whether in the refrigerator packages or cans, commercially prepared sauerkraut right off the grocery store shelf is just too weird for my tastebuds. Still... I sure do enjoy it on a classic Reuben sandwich. Shaved corned beef dressed with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on toasted Rye bread - it's downright delicious.

Far as cabbage goes though, I love the stuff, but I'd much rather have fried cabbage over pickled cabbage, but then, I guess fried cabbage doesn't go quite as well on a sandwich as sauerkraut does. Thankfully, you can use it in other ways besides a Reuben too.

The primary reason I'm posting this today however, is that I made a delicious sausage reuben sandwich recently, that I patterned after one found on a bar menu in Decatur Alabama, called a 5 Finger Banjo Picker Sandwich.

Thankfully, a good sandwich makes for a meal in my house, and we've eaten plenty of them this summer. Oh my goodness is that Banjo Picker one delicious sandwich y'all. I'll try to get that up soon, seeing as it took me forever to get this posted. It's truly a hearty sandwich perfect for now that we've moved into fall, well... at least by the calendar anyway. Still waitin' for those temperatures to catch up here in the Deep South, though based on social media comments last week, so are a lot of y'all! Seems it's still pretty warm all around the country right now.

In the meantime, here's how I dress up commercially prepared sauerkraut for things like that. Besides a sausage sandwich, I love it with bratwurst and hot dogs, or as a condiment on other sandwiches. You can also use this sauerkraut in a sausage and potatoes skillet meal (see cook's notes), stir it into soups, top beans with it, toss it in salads or your favorite coleslaw recipes, stir it into rice (I love it in dirty rice), use as a filling in your favorite meat pies, and even add some to your favorite veggie fritter recipe.

For more of my favorite condiments click over to my Pinterest page!

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Recipe: Dressed Up Sauerkraut

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (15/16 ounce) bag or can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup beer or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning or red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper as needed, to taste (I use Cavender's Greek)
  • Parsley, for color, optional

Place sauerkraut in a colander, rinsing several times. Use a paper towel to press out excess liquid; set aside. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove and chop. Add sauerkraut, bacon, and all remaining ingredients to the drippings. Heat over medium high until warmed through, taste and adjust seasonings, Garnish with parsley.

Sausage and Sauerkraut: This is one of the most popular recipes using sauerkraut, especially in the colder weather months. Prepare sauerkraut as above; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon each butter or bacon drippings and oil in a separate lidded skillet. Slice a pound of Polish sausage or Kielbasa into 2 to 3-inch diagonally cut sections and add to skillet. Cook and stir until sausage browns; remove and set aside.  Peel and cut into chunks 3 medium sized potatoes and add to drippings in skillet along with 1 cup of chopped onion. Toss to coat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add sauerkraut to skillet; toss until warmed through. Return sausage and toss to warm through.

To Make Your Own Shortcut Sauerkraut: Slice half a small head of cabbage into thin shreds and saute in the bacon drippings with a tablespoon of cooking oil. Stir fry until cabbage wilts. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup of a good German beer and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until tender.


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