Friday, October 15, 2010

Fresh Cabbage Kraut

During our last CSA pickup, Chuck Thompson gave me a copy of his wife's book, It's a Dream Life ... With a Few Nightmares Thrown in For Fun. What a fun read. Heidi about the adventures the Thompsons have experienced since becoming farmers, with some advice on farm-raised food and some recipes thrown in for good measure. One of the recipes, by the Guldan family, is for fresh cabbage or kohlrabi kraut. The Guldens are New Ulmers, which, if you're not local, means that they know their kraut!

It just so happened that smoked sausage was on sale last time I was at the grocery store, and was looking for an interesting way to cook it. What goes better with sausage than kraut?

This is much milder than the fermented sauerkraut you're used to. I know it looks like a lot for something that's usually just a condiment, but trust me. It works really well as the accompaniment part of the dish.

This is a slight deviation from the Gulden recipe, but no less delicious.

I forgot to take a picture of potatoes. It was kind of crowded though, potatoes might not have fit. They don't come into play until later anyway.

The first thing you do is chop the bacon and start it frying. I had thick-sliced on hand so I used that, but regular bacon would be fine.

While your bacon is getting yummy, start on the cabbage. Peel the dirty and tough leaves off the outside.

Sit the cabbage on its root end and cut it in half.

Next, you'll want to remove the core. Just make a trianguler cut to get ride of the core.

Flip the cabbage over and start cutting it into thin strips. It's going to look like a huge pile, but remember, it's going to wilt down.

Next is the apple. Quarter and core it but don't peel.

Slice it very, very thinly.

Do the same to an onion.

By this point, your bacon should be getting crisp. So you'll want to think about getting your spices ready. I'm using mustard and caraway seeds.

Once your bacon is cooked and has rendered out its fat, pour in the spices and a couple tablespoons of sugar.

Watch out, the seeds pop a little. Don't burn yourself!

Stir everything around until the sugar is dissolved.

Now add in your cabbage, apples, and onions, and sprinkle in some salt. Give everything a stir to help the cabbage wilt.

Next is what's going to make this cabbage so krauty--a couple big spoonfuls of vinegar.

Now give everything a final stir, add some black pepper, and pour in some chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or water.)

Put the lid on the pot and let your stove do the work.

Here it is after about 90 minutes of cooking.

It's time to shred your potatoes. I use my handy-dandy mandoline.

It makes a nice pile of shredded taters.

Toss the potatoes in the pot, along with whatever sausage you're using. I'm just using smoked kielbasa.

Cover and let everything cook for another half hour or so. The sausage will heat up and the potatoes will thicken your kraut.

Uncover your pot and let things simmer for another 15-20 minutes. This will thicken your kraut even more.

There's enough sausage and kraut here that even a Korean can pretend to be German for the evening.

Recipe: Fresh Cabbage Kraut

4 pieces thick-cut bacon (around 1/3 to 1/2 a pound)

2 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
1/2 tsp. mustard seed

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste

3 tbsp. white vinegar
2 c. chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water

2 potatoes, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

1 smoked sausage

Saute the bacon in a large pot.

When bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, add caraway, mustard, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add cabbage, apple, and onion. Add salt and pepper, and stir to wilt cabbage.

Pour in vinegar and chicken broth. Cover and let simmer for at least 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes of cooking, add shredded potatoes and sausage. Cover and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

Remove cover and let simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.


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