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~ Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today ~

IMG_1600I'm feeling brave today.  I'm going to share an intriguing recipe for sauerkraut that even some of you fermented-cabbage lovers might not know about:  'kraut cakes.  These are the cabbage world's version of the potato pancake, and its cousin, the mashed potato cake -- recipes that hail from our Eastern European ancestors (necessity-driven, inventive cooks who knew how to stretch and transform leftover 'this or that' into a delicious new meal).  Pair these up with some pan-fried kielbasa coins, a bit of brown mustard and/or a bowl of warm applesauce to the side and you've got a 30-minute-or-less, winner-winner, 'kraut-cake dinner.  All you need is a couple of cups of leftover (a day or three is perfect), fully-cooked and seasoned sauerkraut. 

Cooking sauerkraut is pretty straightforward.  You can follow the instructions on the back of the bag if you like (I never buy canned sauerkraut), or, if you have a favorite recipe for sauerkraut, feel free to use it.  This is my easy, all-purpose method for doing it, and, I hope you'll agree that the slightly-buttery taste of my 'kraut is just what every self-respecting 'kraut cake needs!

IMG_1402To cook the sauerkraut:

2  pound bag fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and well-drained (about 10 minutes prior to cooking)

6  tablespoons salted butter

1  cup diced yellow or sweet onion

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

IMG_1407 IMG_1413 IMG_1417 IMG_1429 IMG_1424                                       ~Step 1.  In 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add onion, pepper and salt.  Increase heat to medium-high and saute until onion is translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add sauerkraut along with 1/4 cup water.  Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, lowering heat as needed to prevent scorching, until 'kraut is tender, 15 minutes.  Turn heat off, cover, and allow to steep on hot stovetop, 15 more minutes.

 Note:  This will yield 3 cups of cooked sauerkraut.  If you are using my buttery sauerkraut to make this recipe (and I hope you do because it is foolproof), refrigerate it overnight.

IMG_1514To make 6 or 9 sauerkraut cakes:

2 or 3  cups cooked sauerkraut, refrigerated overnight and returned to room temperature

2 or 3  large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 or 3/4  cup unbleached, all purpose flour

1  pound smoked kielbasa, cut on an angle into 1/2"-thick slices

IMG_1520 IMG_1525 IMG_1531 IMG_1535~Step 2.  In a medium bowl, place the sauerkraut.  Using a fork, beat the eggs and thoroughly incorporate them into the 'kraut.  Two tablespoons at a time, throughly incorporate the flour.  Set the pasty mixture aside for 10-15 minutes, to allow the flour to absorb any excess moisture.

IMG_1540 IMG_1538~ Step 3.  In a 16" electric skillet, heat a thin coating of vegetable oil to 250 degrees.  Using a 2 1/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place six level scoops of 'kraut mixture into the pan.  After 30-45 seconds, using your fingertips, flatten balls into 6 or 9, 3"-round, 1/2"-thick discs.

IMG_1544 IMG_1555~ Step 4.  Increase the skillet's heat to 275 degrees and saute until 'kraut cakes are nicely golden on both sides, using a spatula to turn them only once, about 4-4 1/2 minutes per side. IMG_1577 IMG_1562Don't rush it.  Using the spatula, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.  Do not turn the skillet heat off.  While the sauerkraut cakes are sauteing, slice the kielbasa as directed.  Add IMG_1570 IMG_1583the sliced kielbasa to the hot oil.  Saute, stirring almost constantly, cook until slices are golden on both sides, about 3 total minutes.  The entire cooking process will take a short 11-12 minutes.

IMG_1589~ Step 5.  Transfer the browned kielbasa to the plate with the sauerkraut cakes.  Serve ASAP with chilled or warmed applesauce to the side.  Just because I like Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard with my kielbasa, I add that to this delicious 'kraut & kielbasa meal too.

Be brave -- live dangerously -- serve 'Kraut Cakes & Kielbasa:

IMG_1614Admit it, if you are a sauerkraut lover, you're smackin' your lips!

IMG_1629Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today:  Recipe yields 6 or 9 sauerkraut cakes/2-4 servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; colander; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/lid; large spoon; 1-cup measuring container; 4-cup food storage container w/lid; electric skillet; 2 1/4" ice-cream scoop; spatula; paper towels

6a0120a8551282970b0191030a07d8970cCook's Note:  I make a "mean" potato pancake too, and, just like I enjoy eating kielbasa with my sauerkraut cakes, every once in a while, I enjoy adding diced ham to my potato pancakes.  You can find my recipe for ~ Leftover Ham? Pass the Ham & Potato Pancakes ~ in Category 9.  While great for dinner, they're fantastic served for breakfast with maple syrup!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


Phyllis -- you made my day! And by the way, that is the way my mom always made sauerkraut for us -- our family loved it. We ate it before refrigerating it on the first day, then she'd use the leftovers to make the 'kraut cakes the next day. Thanks for your "smily-faced" comment!!!

OMG . . . made these today and they were so scrumptious. I made the kraut yesterday and refrigerated it as directed. I threw in the extra 2 Tbls. of butter from the stick, because who can't stand a little extra butter. We tasted the kraut before refrigerating and I'm telling you, I would eat it like that by itself or over mashed potatoes. Your instructions are fool proof. The only thing for me was, I ended up with 9 patties using the correct scooper. But who cares. I only cooked 4 and refrigerated the other 5 scoops to make tomorrow. Thanks for the great recipe. Have also made your Sopranos sausage and peppers .. .. .. another KEEPER!!

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