Friday, October 18, 2013

Apple Cider Sauerkraut and the Packers

You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl... add to that my German heritage and it's all about Kraut, Brats and the Pack this time of year... especially as our yard gives us apples, cabbage and onions for this lovely recipe.

Apple Cider Sauerkraut
6-medium onions (I use half yellow, half red)
2-small/med heads cabbage (I use one white and one red)
8-apples (I use a mix, but tart are really good here!)
2 T butter
1.5-T salt
1-T mustard seed (optional)
1/2-T ground pepper
2/3-C Apple Cider Vinegar
2-C Apple Cider

  • melt butter in large stock pot over medium-high heat, add thinly sliced onions when foaming subsides.  Cook, stirring regularly, until creamy and golden brown and well caramelized. (about 20-mins)
  • add apples, cabbage, salt, pepper, mustard seed, cider and vinegar, stir to mix well, cover and simmer over medium heat for 1-hour.
  • cabbage and apples should be soft at this point and onions nearly disintegrated.
  • keep simmering for another 20-30 mins if you want it softer OR just keep warm and ready to serve OR can it OR tuck your sausages of choice in for a simmer bath for about 20-mins, then pull the sausages out and finish on the grill.
  • serve kraut and brats w/ good, dark bread, great medley of mustards, and a potato of choice
When I am canning this for winter I usually double or triple the recipe to get about 12-pints for the cellar.

BOILING BRATS - there are folks that say grill first, boil second.  Boil first, grill second.  Etc...  I am a boil first girl.  If I am not worried about keeping my kraut vegetarian, I often braise my brats in the kraut above, then finish on the grill.  but, my favorite way is this:

  • Put brats in a big pasta pot (I did 24 in my larger pot the other night).  Add on top 1- to 2- sliced onions of choice.  Pour 1- to 2-beers over the top (anything from PBR to Highlife to a lighter microbrew).  Also add the same amount of water as beer to just over the brats and onions.  (For me I empty one can of beer into the pot then fill that can up w/ water and put it in.  If I need more liquid I do it again w/ a new can of beer, then water).
  • To kick it up a notch I took some of the cider from the recipe above and added about a 1/2C of cider in here.
  • Simmer over medium heat until just cooked through - about 20-mins of simmer.  Stirring occasionally.
  • Finish on a medium grill for good outer grill flavor but not to dry out.
  • Finally - strain the onions and serve on the side w/ the brats, kraut, bread, mustard, potatoes, etc...


We had this for Monday night football this week, but alas the Pack could not pull out a win against the Bears.  It won't stop me from making it again and again, though, as we have many of our friends hooked on the apple cider kraut!

I will be making a huge vat of it for canning soon and a few of you expressed interest in learning to make it with me.  Let me know so I can plan a kraut canning day.

Guten Appetit!

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