Sauerkraut. Basically, it’s fermented (some would say “rotten”) cabbage. It’s one of those weird foods that people either love or hate. I grew up eating sauerkraut. My grandfather’s parents were from the Austrian/Ukrainian region of Europe and my great-grandmother Eva taught my grandmother, Honey, to make a lot of their regional dishes.
My sauerkraut recipe isn’t exactly like the way Honey used to make it. Donnie and I prefer ours mellow, peppery and sweet. My grandmother’s was peppery, too, but only slightly sweet. She always called this concoction “Kraut and Wienies” and she left the hot dogs whole. I slice mine, because I like getting a little bite of meat with each forkful, and I think the smokiness diffuses more into the kraut when they’re sliced.
But the trick of adding lots of onions and slow-cooking the whole thing, that is from my Honey, who was one of the best cooks in the world.
Kraut and Wienies
2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 stick butter
1 jar sauerkraut (32 oz.) or 2 cans (16 oz.) sauerkraut
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (or to taste)
1 cup apple juice
Nature’s Seasons seasoning salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 pound Oscar Mayer hot dogs, sliced (I use the no-nitrates variety)
In large nonstick frying pan, cook onions in butter until translucent. Drain sauerkraut well; rinse and drain it again once or twice. Add to frying pan along with remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover with lid, lower heat and simmer at least 30 minutes. (I prefer to cook it an hour or two so the kraut is really tender). About half an hour before you’re ready to serve, take off the lid, turn the heat back up to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until liquid is evaporated. Adjust seasonings and serve hot with mashed potatoes or perogies, and a crusty bread. We also like ours with Heinz ketchup, but that’s probably totally unorthodox.
Now doesn’t this look good?