This tempting dish comes to life from store-bought sauerkraut. Really. You know the kind in the refrigerated section of your supermarket that’s packaged in a clear plastic bag? Yes. That’s the one. There are several brands out there. I choose to use Kissling’s. Since we always lived in the Philadelphia area, that was the one that my mom used …so I’ll keep the tradition going.
My mom’s sauerkraut. It was so delicious. Almost creamy with a touch of sweetness to offset the tartness of the fermented cabbage. I have a quickly scribbled recipe from her but the details are vague at best. I recently came across a recipe from Ian Knauer, cookbook author and host of the PBS show, The Farm. Ian’s formula for Sauerkraut & Apples seemed to be similar to what mom used when making her traditional dish. So I guess you could say that my recipe is adapted from Ian Knauer’s but most definitely inspired by my mom.
There’s a fair amount of prep work to be done on this but once the ingredients are combined, the process is hands-off. It all simmers away on its own for an hour while you go about your business.
Start off by cooking your bacon pieces until they are well-done and crispy. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon or spatula and set them aside for later. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and add the sliced onions. Once the onion is tender and golden, add the drained sauerkraut, apple slices, and white wine. Give it a good stir, lower the heat and cover the pot. Time to step away and let the magic happen.
After about an hour of simmering, the sauerkraut and apple slices will be very tender. This is when you’ll add the brown sugar as well as the salt & pepper. Give it a stir along with those bacon bits that you have set aside.
It’s time to make the sauteed apples for the topping. If you are pressed for time, you can certainly skip this step but as you can see they truly add something to the presentation of the final dish. And they’re ready in just a few minutes. You don’t even have to peel the apple for this part …it adds lovely contrast and texture.
Transfer the sauerkraut to a serving dish and top it off with the sautéed apples and fresh dill.
I’m pretty sure that my mom would totally approve of my attempt at duplicating her recipe. Even though her parents emigrated from a small town in Hungary (near the border of Austria) her traditional family recipes definitely leaned more toward the German culture. She always served her sauerkraut warm as the Germans tend to do.
If you’re wondering how to best enjoy this goodness, the possibilities are endless. It is especially delicious when paired with roast pork or grilled sausages. And don’t forget about trying it as a topping on your frankfurters. Especially the grilled ones. This is so good, you may want to have it all by itself. But here’s an awesome idea if you happen to have some in the fridge the next time you make burgers…
Coat the cut sides of your brioche bun with your special burger sauce. Melt some good swiss or gruyere on your burger. Start with the coated bottom bun, add a layer of crispy bacon slices, then the cheeseburger. Then add a generous layer of your homemade sauerkraut and cover with the coated top bun. Prepare to bite into your new favorite burger.
sauerkraut with bacon & sautéed apples
Adapted from Ian Knauer. Inspired by my mom.
Transform that tart crispy store-bought sauerkraut to a creamy side dish with a hint of sweetness. Serve as a side with pork or sausages. Or as a topping for burgers and sandwiches.
Sauerkraut with Bacon
- 8 ounces smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced vertically (1 cup / about 6 ounces)
- 4 pounds refrigerated sauerkraut, rinsed & drained
- 2 fuji apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced (about 5 ounces each)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 fuji apple, cored & thinly sliced (about 5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill weed
Sauerkraut with Bacon
In a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot, cook the bacon pieces over medium-high heat until they are well-done and crispy. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon or spatula and set them aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Add the sliced onion to the pot with the bacon fat and sauté for about 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sauerkraut, apple slices, and wine. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or until sauerkraut is very tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the reserved bacon bits and gently mix until well incorporated. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the Sautéed Apples and fresh dill. Best when served warm.
Core and slice one Fuji apple. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and sauté until just softened and lightly caramelized on the edges. Sprinkle over sauerkraut dish with the snipped fresh dill weed.
For best results, use Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious apples.