Authentic German Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

After 20 posts of mainly American food, I think its time to hold true to my Blog title and finally infuse some German food. What could be more German than Sauerkraut? I have to admit, I am not a big fan that the main German food known outside of Germany is Sauerkraut and Sausages, but for once I have to say I am one of the “stereotype” German who loves her Sauerkraut (not so much sausages).

I am from the state Nordrhein Westfalen and the Sauerkraut there is called “Westfälisches Sauerkraut” and that’s the recipe I am using below. The main difference to other Sauerkrauts is that in the below recipe the Sauerkraut is cooked for 2 hours, not like the typical Bavarian Sauerkraut that pretty much only gets heated up and tastes very hard and sour. “My” Sauerkraut tastes much more smooth and soft and not so “ultra cabbagy”. Another “tip” is that the Sauerkraut usually tastes better the day after, reheated with the mashed potatoes mixed in. The mixture doesn’t look pretty but for sure is tasty!

You do need to make mashed potatoes with the Sauerkraut, there really is no other way to eat it! Well there is one other way – I use this type of Sauerkraut for the Rueben Sandwiches instead of the “raw” Sauerkraut that you usually get for your Rueben Sandwich. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, you should give this recipe a try, I am sure even folks who are not a big fan of Sauerkraut will like this version on their Rueben Sandwich.

My Sauerkraut photos don’t show any meat, only because I am actually not a big meat eater and love Sauerkraut just the way it is, but if you want to serve it with some meat I would suggest some smoked pork chops if you can get those. We add the pork chops on top of the Sauerkraut for the last 30 minutes of the total cooking time. Alternatively you can fry up some German Brats (Trader Joe’s or Wholefoods carrys those) or if you plan to make a Ham for Easter, cook some Sauerkraut along with it for the next day left over ham, Ham tastes really good with Sauerkraut. The area I come from serves Sauerkraut with “Eisbein” which is a smoked pork knuckle – sounds weird but its not and its really tasty.

Here the recipe for a very authentic German Sauerkraut:

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 slices of diced bacon (we call it “Speck”)
  • 1 teaspoon margarine or oil to fry the bacon – better would be “Schmalz” which is the white hardened animal fat, e.g. when you cook/bake a duck or goose and the white fat that comes out of it is called Schmalz in Germany)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 cups of chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 Juniper berries
  • 2,5 pounds of Sauerkraut
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 potato
  • Meat of your choice (sausages, smoked pork chops etc.)
  • Mashed potatoes

Directions:

  1. Fry up the bacon on medium heat until most of the grease is melted out. Add the onions and fry another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, juniper berries, bay leaf, diced apple and the Sauerkraut. If you like your Sauerkraut less sour, just rinse it in a strainer with some cold water, squeeze the excess liquid out by hand it out and then add it to the pot.
  3. Add the salt and pepper (just a little bit), mix everything, cover and let it simmer for 1,5 – 2 hours.
  4. Discard the Juniper berries and bay leaf and grate in the potato which will help to thicken up the Sauerkraut.
  5. Add the smoked pork chops the last 30 minutes on top of the Sauerkraut. If you can’t get a smoked pork just take regular ones and fry them in a pan and serve with the Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

Guten Appetit! (I just reheated the Sauerkraut from yesterday and mixed in the mashed potatoes – oh its so good and it makes me really happy eating true German food!)

Sauerkraut1

5 thoughts on “Authentic German Sauerkraut

    • Thank you Marita for the kind words. Sauerkraut is definitely an acquired taste outside of Germany but if you like cabbage you will like Sauerkraut. And the nice part is you can cook it in big batches and then freeze it and always have some comfort food handy. Sauerkraut with Mashed Potatoes really is comfort food and the beer is a must for a German dish! I hope you will stop by more often :-).

  1. Pingback: Oktoberfest Food | A German in Seattle

    • Hi Monica, so happy to hear you will give Sauerkraut a try. You can skip the Juniper berries or replace them with a few caraway seeds. Also if you really wanted Juniper berries, I found an inexpensive brand at Amazon.com. I hope this helps and your Sauerkraut will turn out fabulous! I love it the next day mixed in with mashed potatoes; doesn’t look fancy but this is my absolute German comfort food! Guten Appetit!

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