Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kielbasa and Kraut Medley

Another oldie but goodie...


Joseph fixed dinner last night, while I curled up by the chiminea he got for me, reading a new Kelly Armstrong book by a warm, crackling life good, or what?!  He chatted with an old friend on the phone as he cooked, then when he brought the plates out by the fire, told me he'd taken photos, just as I've been doing for the new shared food blog.

Hooray!  I said "then you can write it up for Starving Artists?"--and lo, he did, and you'll find it below!  This is one of my favorite cool-weather dinners, hearty and somewhat German in flavor, savory with meat and onions and fruit...YUM. 

Somehow, eaten by the fire on a lovely November evening, cooked by my love, it tasted even better than I remembered!

Kielbasa & Kraut Medley

4 6-8” kielbasa (about 2 lbs)
2 C sauerkraut
4 small apples (Jonathans are good), cored and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
Olive oil, coconut oil, or bacon grease.

Brown the kielbasa well in a little bit of oil or grease.  Remove from pan, add onion and cook until glazed.  Add apples and cook until slightly browned.  If you’re drinking beer or hard cider while cooking, you can add a little of that.  Add kielbasa and kraut.  Stir up well, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Serves six--or makes wonderful leftovers!


(Of course I have to nib in and add my thoughts on this...)

You  can use turkey kielbasa (or smoked sausage) if you're watching your fat intake--tastes great anyway--and tart apples are definitely marvelous in it.  (This isn't the place for sweet, bland, mealy apples that fall apart when cooked!  You want that tart-sweet flavor.  We like to buy local Jonathans, as  mentions, organically grown if possible.) 

I like sweet Bavarian sauerkraut in this, the kind with caraway seeds, if I haven't made my own--and that I haven't done in a lot of years!  The above illustration was painted 30 years ago, from a batch of my own home-canned Bavarian-style stuff--it still hangs in my kitchen today, a lovely reminder of those years.  (It's gouache and sepia ink on a warm tan matboard background.)

Making sauerkraut is dead easy, as far as the process goes, but it can be a tad tricky.  The right temperature range and careful cleanliness are needed to insure proper fermentation. 

When my late husband and I lived on our little back-to-the-land farm and I canned mountains of stuff from our own organic garden, I made some of the best and worst I've ever tasted--and one memorable batch that was in the root cellar when it flooded, and came out smelling of kerosene from the lantern that decided to float.  Needless to say, that batch didn't get tasted--it didn't even make compost!  Ewwwww...

According to The Joy of Cooking--still my favorite cookbook!--sauerkraut's healthful qualities were recognized as early as 200 B.C. when workers on got a daily ration as they worked on the Great Wall of China.  It appears it was first mentioned in America in 1776, and as expected, it was primarily eaten in German communities.  (Sauerkraut literally means "sour cabbage," in German.)

I couldn't find my old recipe--it was NOT in The Joy--but this site comes close:

Remember, sauerkraut gets milder with cooking--in the wonderful dish above, it just adds a lovely tang.  If you think you hate sauerkraut, you may find differently when you try this recipe!

We hope you enjoy this hearty dish as much as we did--great with hard cider or a rich lager like Sam Adams, too...


  1. Looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. Think I shall try it next week. I like the Bavarian best, myself, for just about everything, anyway! Thanks for telling about this!

  2. Let me know what you think, Sioux! I'm hungry for this again...

  3. This makes me very hungry. Interesting about the Sauerkraut. Who knew? I don't cook with it very often but I do love it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Very healthy stuff! A friend was just telling me about all kinds of pickled or salted vegetables and how healthful they are--I need to try that!

  5. Congrats to Joseph and you. The blog is going to be so good. That photo and the recipe has my mouth watering.


  6. Made this tonight...oh, so good!!!


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