It's almost Oktoberfest time and I sure am in a German food mood. Yesterday, I made obatzda and some sauerkraut in preparation for a German meal I will be making this weekend. I love love love sauerkraut and this is how I make it.
Start by seasoning some flour on a plate. I add granulated garlic, salt, pepper and some dried thyme.
Coat both sides of 3 pork steaks. Leave the fat on them; sauerkraut needs fat. Save the unused flour.
Brown the steaks on each side in some bacon fat or oil until they have a crisp crust.
Set them aside as you cook them.
After the steaks are cooked, saute' 1 large diced white onion in the leftover grease.
Season the onion with salt and pepper and about 2T. of caraway seeds. Set this aside.
Place the steaks in a large heavy pot.
Add some smoked meat. I used smoked pork chops. I like to use cuts with bones in for the added flavor.
Add some sauerkraut. I bought some locally made but you can also make your own ahead of time. I threw in some kielbasa too. Do not drain the kraut.
Add the onion mixture.
Add more sauerkraut. I used 4 quarts in all.
Add 3 cups of beef broth and 1 cup of apple cider. Place this in a 300 degree oven and cook it for 3-4 hours. Take it out of the oven and remove all the meat and let it cool a bit. I thoroughly dredge through the kraut trying to locate pieces of bone. I always warn people to watch for bones though, just in case I missed some.
Remove several cups of the sauerkraut juice and add it to a heavy pan. Bring it to a low boil. Mix the leftover flour with a bit of melted butter and whisk it into the sauerkraut juice. Whisk until it begins to thicken.
Slowly whisk some of the gravy into 1 cup of sour cream to temper it then mix this back into the gravy. Stir the gravy into the sauerkraut.
Pick through the meat and shred the best pieces and add them back to the kraut. I discard the sausage because it looses most of it's flavor while it cooks.
This recipe made almost 6 quarts of some of some of the best sauerkraut you will ever eat. It freezes wonderfully. I had an aunt that used to always have a casserole version of this topped with spaetzel in her freezer just in case someone died. We always called it the funeral casserole.
I have a whole meal planned in my head to serve with this rich, creamy, delectable sauerkraut.