Ah, the famed New York Reuben… what would it be without a generous helping of sauerkraut? Just another layered sourdough sandwich filled with thin slices of corned beef and Swiss cheese, nothing to write home about. It’s probably safe to say then, that with the ingenious addition of pickled cabbage to the sandwich, it is one dish which has singlehandedly helped lift kraut to international stardom. Here is a great recipe if you’d like to try making one at home.
For best flavour and texture, sauerkraut should only ever be salted and must remain “al dente”. Also, the longer the cabbage is brined and the more ingredients are added the softer it will get.
But did you know there are at least 5 other sauerkraut recipes which are just as unique and delicious, if in fact, not better?
1. Sauerkraut slaw
Served alongside a good schnitzel or pan-fried fish, the sauerkraut slaw requires only 5 simple ingredients. It’s light on the calories but never on taste.
Recipe: mix together 500g crunchy sauerkraut, 1 small grated carrot, 2 tbsp light flavored oil, 1 tsp sugar, ground pepper. And voila, sauerslaw is ready! Serves 4.
2. Sauerkraut soup // Kapuśniak
Another one of my childhood favorites, the sauerkraut potato and bacon soup. Sounds pretty good already, doesn’t it?? And it’s simple to prepare too.
Recipe: cook 2 large peeled potatoes separately as the acid in the kraut may prevent them from going soft if cooked together. Then add them to the soup made up of 500g sauerkraut, 2 cups water, 2 bay leaves, 3 all spice seeds and 100g diced bacon, simmer together for 30 minutes. Serves 4.
3. Sauerkraut hunter’s stew // Bigos
Back in the day, Bigos was cooked to help use up leftovers from hunting and household scraps. Today it is a much more formal dish, with quality smoked goods, red wine and lemon rind added for flavour – ingredients once perceived as luxuries. In whatever incarnation, it is on of Poland’s most liked and famous national dishes.
4. Sauerkraut dumplings
Lightly stir-fried sauerkraut, mixed with aromatic porcini mushrooms and enclosed in thin flour pastry. Boiled then fried. What’s not to like?
Recipe: Sauerkraut and porcini dumplings
5. Sauerkraut pancakes
This is probably the most novel way to use pickled cabbage. Mixed into a savoury batter, the pancakes are great on their own but work just as well as a side to hearty goulash, creamy mushroom sauce or roasted pork with gravy.
Recipe: Mix together 250g sauerkraut, 1 cup milk, 1 cup plain flour, 1 egg and some smoked hot paprika. Spoon mixture into a lightly oiled fry pan and cook on both sides, until golden brown. Makes about 12 pancakes.