Braised Sauerkraut #CookForJulia

by Renee on August 7, 2012

Braised Sauerkraut

I had a craving for German food. Well, a larger than usual craving. It started because of a trip I recently took with my mom and niece. We went to Helen, GA for an overnight stay. Helen in a tiny little town built to look like an Alpine village in Germany. Yes, it is a tourist town. It is filled with a souvenir-type gift shops. There is not much to do other than hiking, tubing, relaxing, and eating. The one great thing is there are several German restaurants.

I planned to have a couple of German meals. I thought about some type of wurst with sauerkraut for lunch and then rouladen or sauerbraten for dinner. A late, um, second breakfast on the way plus the heat that day made me not hungry for lunch. Instead I had apple strudel for a snack. It was quite a good snack and still German fare. I did have sauerbraten for dinner and so part of my craving was satisfied.

There was still my hankering for wurst and sauerkraut. I was looking through Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook” cookbook and ran across braised sauerkraut. All I have ever “cooked” at home was heating up store-bought. I always wondered why it never tasted near what it does in Germany. Over there the texture seemed different and it had more depth of flavor. I wondered if Julia’s recipe would come close and it did. I will never just heat up store-bought again.

I grilled bratwurst while the sauerkraut braised. I also cooked some potatoes using the method in French Potato Salad. Instead of using the dressing for the salad, I added butter, salt, and pepper to the pan to make simple buttered potatoes. The meal that night was wonderful and hit the spot.

Braised Sauerkraut with Bratwurst and Potatoes

Julia’s braised sauerkraut recipe is quite simple. Everything is cooked in one pot. The original recipe calls for dried thyme and I substituted fresh thyme. I prefer using fresh herbs whenever possible. She also suggests soaking the sauerkraut in water to remove some of the sour taste. I completely skipped that step because I want my sauerkraut to be sour.

Thanks to Julia I had a great German meal. Her recipes extend to more than French cuisine. I am enjoying discovering more of them as her 100th birthday celebration continues. I can see she really did enjoy all types of foods and cuisines. What is your favorite non-French recipe from Julia?

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Braised Sauerkraut

Braised Sauerkraut

  • 2 pounds sauerkraut
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Drain the sauerkraut. Squeeze it by handfuls to remove excess liquid. Fluff up the strands and set aside.

In a heavy 5-quart or larger covered saucepan, add the onions and the wine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until onions are tender.

Add the sauerkraut, broth, caraway seeds, thyme, bay leaves, a little salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to nothing (or almost nothing if you perfer it with some of the liquid and not dry-like). Correct seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve hot.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Julia Child "The Way To Cook" cookbook.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen @ Juanita's Cocina August 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

Ohhhh yummy. There is nothing better than sausage ans sauerkraut and some german potato salad.

How am I ready for dinner and it’s only 7 a.m.? LOL!

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Jennie @themessybakerblog August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

I absolutely love sauerkraut, and this braised sauerkraut is calling my name. It looks so good, Renee! I’m going to have to make this. I can just smell it, now. Yum!

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Chris August 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hm, making Sauerkraut myself also came to my mind during the last few days (I never did it, though), for the original German way calls for some kind of Sauerkraut pottery.
As to Julia, this year I got those two books, but still haven’t tried too much. In the coming few days I definitely have to go through them and find something nice to try.
Your dish looks nice and also that place – Helen – sounds interesting. Have you tried Weisswurst (white sausages) yet?

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Renee August 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Yes, I have tried Weisswurst. I have had it here and in Germany. My mom bought me some of the sweet mustard to go with it when we were in Helen. Now I need to find some Weisswurst locally.

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Terra August 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Growing up I hated sauerkraut, then I met my hubby. His mom makes the best sauerkraut, and now I love it! Your recipe looks delicious, especially with the white wine:-) Hugs, Terra

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Liz August 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

Mmmmmmm….I adore sauerkraut, and i’m overdue to make some. I have brats in the freezer, so Julia’s recipe will be put to use very soon!

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