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~Buttery Sauerkraut as a Side-Dish & for Sandwiches~

IMG_7533I wish I had the time and the inclination to make sauerkraut the old-fashioned way, by fermenting some shredded cabbage in a crock.  I don't.  Perhaps if we ate sauerkraut more than a two-three times a year, I would be inclined to make the time -- it is indeed wonderful.  That said, for those times I want a cup or two of kraut to serve as a side dish or top a sandwich, a bag of store-bought is just fine. FYI:  Technically, once it's out of the package, drained, and rinsed, sauerkraut is ready to eat.  That said, it's awesome when briefly sautéed with some butter, onion and seasonings.

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2d3bbcf970cA bit about sauerkraut:  Although sauerkraut (German for "sour cabbage") is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building The Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate it as standard fare.  Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine, eventually found its way to Europe, where the Germans and Alsatians adopted it as a favorite staple. Today's sauerkraut is made in the same manner: by combining shredded cabbage, salt and some spices, then allowing the mixture to ferment.  It is packaged in jars and cans and is found in almost every supermarket.  The best sauerkraut is sold by the pound in delicatessens, as well as in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, where it is packaged in plastic bags.  All sauerkraut should be rinsed in cold water before being served as a side-dish, being cooked in casseroles, or, used as a topping for sandwiches.

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2d45009970cFor 2 pounds (4 cups) sauerkraut:

2  pounds deli-style sauerkraut, from a bag, not a can

1  cup diced yellow or sweet onion

8 tablespoons salted butter (1 stick butter)

1  teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

IMG_7492 IMG_7492 IMG_7492 IMG_7500 IMG_7503 IMG_7503 IMG_7503 IMG_7503~Step 1.  Place the sauerkraut in a colander. Thoroughly rinse it under cold water.  Allow it to drain for about 5 minutes.  In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven or 4-quart wide-bottomed stockpot, melt butter over low heat.  Stir in the caraway seeds, sea salt and black pepper pepper.  Add the diced onion.  Adjust heat to sauté, until onion is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.  

IMG_7511 IMG_7511 IMG_7511 IMG_7511~Step 2.  Add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut, give the mixture a thorough stir, and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, to keep the sauerkraut from browning, for 8-9 minutes.  Turn the heat off, cover the pot and set aside for 15-30 minutes, to allow the flavors time to marry.

Try my Deli Corned Beef on Swirl w/Sauerkraut & Swiss:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09ed6d31970dLeftovers?  Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c80e8f38970bButtery Sauerkraut as a Side-Dish & for Sandwiches:  Recipe yields 1 quart/4 cups/8 servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; colander; 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven or 4-quart wide-bottomed stockpot w/lid 

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3abaaba200dCook's Note: This is my father's family's recipe for sauerkraut, and as Eastern Europeans, sauerkraut wasn't reserved for ringing in the New Year -- we ate it all year long.  The only thing that could improve upon the recipe would be my grandfather's home-fermented 'kraut -- which, as a child, I remember being kept in a large, wooden barrel sitting in the corner of his cold, earthen-floored basement, which I remember being a somewhat scary place. ~ Slovak-Style Butter-Bean & Mushroom Sauerkraut ~.

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

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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