Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour
Sauerkraut isn't for sissies
My mother had just enough German blood in her veins to bring sauerkraut to the table once the mildness of autumn turned to the coolness of coming winter. My Dad, the finicky, frugal Frenchman, didn't complain too much. And, how I still love the many manifestations of the preserved cabbage. And, what a bargain sauerkraut is!
Cabbage is the backbone of many cuisines because it has always been easy to raise, easy to keep and quick to cook.
But,we can't be critical since raising the cabbages and cutting all of those tough heads to small strips, putting up with the smell during the days of fermentation are not the way we want to spend our time, our space and our scent-free air. Some compromises really are worth while.
If you prefer less saltiness and less tartness than you find in canned kraut rinse it well before using. And keep in mind that the sweetness of apple counters the acid in kraut.
MOM'S BAKED PORK AND SAUERKRAUT
This is not a measured recipe. It is an easy meal-in-a-dish that can be made with pork shanks, chops, ribs or sausages. you can cook potatoes in with the kraut or serve the simple dish with boiled or baked potatoes.
1 small can kraut, rinsed well
Preheat oven to 3500F. Combine the first 5 ingredients and place in a baking dish. Top with pork chops, sprinkle chops with salt and pepper and the entire dish with paprika. Bake until meat is cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
As you know, Alsace is that part of France and Germany that has alternately belonged to both countries. The resulting cosine is unique to neither country but instead is marriage of both countries' favorite foods and ways of preparing them. The Alsacians turn sauerkraut and sausage into a party dish by serving it with a mushroom sauce and braised chicken sausages cooked with wine and onions. It's still an inexpensive dish but not what anyone expects when the hear the lowly work, sauerkraut.
ALSCIENNE SAUERKRAUT WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE
Any firm fleshed fish can be used instead of the chicken sausage. Juniper berries and bay leaves can be added instead of the cumin and caraway seeds, if you prefer.
6 cups sauerkraut
Rinse kraut well. Place wine in a large saucepan and bring to a boil to evaporate the alcohol. Add the kraut and the seeds, toss together and heat through. Cover to keep warm and set aside. Serve the kraut with a few spoonfuls of Mushroom Sauce alongside, a portion of the sausage and with crusty bread or sour rye. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Any firm mushroom will do plus a little dried porcini or morel mushrooms.
1 tablespoon butter
Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and saute about 10 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high and saute until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper, then add wine and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until wine has almost evaporated. Add water and dried mushrooms and cook about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are rehydrated. Add cream and a very small amount of nutmeg and cook over low heat for 10 minutes while you cook the sausages. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
BRAISED SAUSAGE AND ONIONS
Smoked chicken and apple sausage is delicious in this dish, but any sausage can be used.
1 tablespoon butter
Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and saute about 10 minutes, until softened. Add sausages and saute until lightly browned, turning from time to time. Add wine, increase heat to high and boil until it has almost evaporated, then add garlic and vinegar. Simmer for a few minutes. Finished dish should have only a smidgen of saucy onions, not a lot of sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.