My dear mother, who recently passed, was an amazing cook. I found it fitting for my first recipe submission to be a tribute to her. One of my all-time favorite meals, (and one of the first I learned from my mother) was this recipe. It brings me back to my childhood and on a crisp fall or winter day this melange of sausages and sauerkraut was and is supremely comforting.
This dish comes from the French region of Alsace which is perched on the German border and thus is mixture of French and German cuisines. The original recipe comes from the "Great Dinners from Life" series, published in 1969. Although a pork butt is pictured, I usually omit it in favor of more sausages. But you can include it if you like! The sausages I prefer are Boar's Head knockwurst, bratwurst and any kielbasa available. If you have other German sausages you would like to use, throw them in! The kind of sauerkraut is not important since it is the preparation that elevates even cheap canned kraut into something truly special. In fact, it is so good I always make more than the recipe calls for. Just don't forget your favorite German beer:) Prost!
Shopping Hack: I always look for sausages on sale and amass them in the freezer until I have enough to make the dish.
3 lbs sauerkraut
1/2 lb of bacon
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced 1 cup onions, thinly sliced Parsley sprigs (little bunch) 1 bay leaf
1/4 cup gin
1 10 1/2-oz can beef bouillon
3/4 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
4 to 6 each bratwurst and knockwurst (more if you like) Cheesecloth
Drain the sauerkraut and rinse very well. (Or soak it for 20 minutes changing the water twice.) Drain again. Take up large handfuls of the kraut and squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside. Cut bacon into 1/2" slices and sauté. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in 2-1/2 or 3 qt casserole and add the onions, and carrots (and some of the bacon fat if you like). Cook slowly being careful not to let the vegetables brown. Stir in the sauerkraut until all is well mixed. Cover and cook slowly on the stove for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325.
Tie parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns into cheesecloth and bury in the kraut. Pour in bouillon, water, wine and gin. Salt to taste. Bring to boil then place in the oven for 3 hours. Check now and then to make sure the kraut is not too dry. If so, add a little more bouillon or wine. Add all sausages and return to oven for another hour or until sausages are hot and starting to split. Remove all to large platter and enjoy!
Gather your favorite mustards and serve this dish with boiled red potatoes, spaetzle, or rye bread.
- Chris White, Principal Bass