This past week I had sauerkraut for the first time. Yup. I am a German language student, and I haven’t eaten sauerkraut, ever. I’m also of dutch ancestry…It never appealed to me (Stroopwafels, however, yum-eee). However, that said, certain influences have come into my life. I have been looking for different things to make for dinner. I love sausages and so I have been buying kielbasa. I have to keep beef at a minimum as it upsets my system terrible, so I get the turkey and pork mix. A couple of those and I’ve been peeking around the store for sauerkraut in a quest to satisfy my curiosity about this pickled dish.
I promised myself, back in my twenties, that I would not allow my childhood opinions of food stonewall my explorations of culinary delights. The truth is, your taste changes as you age. So, my deal is that I have to try something I didn’t like every few years. It might be that I didn’t like whatever it was because it was made with crappy ingredients, or something along those lines.
Back when I was a kid, I used to stay at my grandmother’s house for babysitting or overnights. That meant eating dinner there sometimes. My grandmother, Ada, was Dutch and British. Her father was from Amsterdam. I’m not sure how German food came into the menu. I was too young to ask. My grandfather liked sauerkraut. That was either because it was what my grandmother cooked for him, or it was something he learned to like from his youth. I can’t tell you if my great grandmother (his mother) cooked German cuisine–she was British.
Anyway, I distinctly remember a ham steak and sauerkraut and my nose turning up. Grandad smiled. He knew that a little kid wouldn’t like that smelly old pickled cabbage. And, so, I didn’t have to eat it. My family was always cool like that. They didn’t make me or my brother do much of anything if we weren’t having it. Protest was little needed. We were treated as adults in most respects. I think that has a lot to do with my excellent development.
Finally, my local grocery store put the sauerkraut where I could find it: right by the kielbasa. I snatched up the package and then took it home. I had no idea what I needed to do.
During the week, I looked over a couple of recipes and thought about what I could do to prepare it. I made Kielbasa and sauerkraut with zesty potato wedges.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Wash, peel and cut into chunks the two yellow potatoes.
- Put 1/8 – 1/4 cup oil in a baking pan large enough to hold the pieces.
- Sprinkle with salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder, parsley and paprika.
- Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. (They may stick regardless of the oil, so use a pan you can scrape.)
- Rinse sauerkraut in colander and drain by pressing with spoon.
- Place sauerkraut in saucepan, cover with 1 bottle of your favorite beer.
- Simmer sauerkraut for 30 – 40 minutes.
- 15-20 minutes before the above are done, lightly grease cookie sheet and place kielbasa on pan and bake. Flip half way through the heating process.
When done, plate the sauerkraut with a slice of kielbasa on top and a side of potatoes. It turned out great using Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s a light fresh tasting beer that lends itself well to the pickling.