How do you make store bought sauerkraut better? Add in some bacon or duck fat, some crispy bacon crumbles and sauteed onion. In this sauerkraut recipe, we will make some delicious, golden brown kraut that pairs perfectly with pork chops, sausage or burgers. Let’s check out how to make it in under 15 minutes.
This semi-homemade sauerkraut recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb and a snap to make.
A fast and delicious sauerkraut recipe
When I was little, the smell of sauerkraut was overwhelming around the holidays. My family makes a Christmas Soup that uses drained sauerkraut juice as the stock, mixed with mushroom stock and other goodies. In order to strain out enough of the sauerkraut pickling liquid, we needed quite a few bags of sauerkraut…which meant that we were going to be eating sauerkraut for a while. I can tell you that this was no treat back then. Warmed plain sauerkraut from a bag is not good eats. It is flat white, lifeless, bitter, astringent and I just don’t like it (in case you couldn’t tell).
Well, there is a way to make bagged sauerkraut taste really good and we’re going to work through it in this sauerkraut recipe. There are a few tips and tricks to manipulate this ingredient into a delicious accompaniment to a while slew of delicious dinner dishes.
Bagged vs. Canned Sauerkraut
I’m not going to get into the nutritional benefits of sauerkraut, whether canned, bagged or jarred in this post (although there are a lot of great benefits, particularly for Gut Health that you can read on Health Impact News). I’m not a nutritionist, just someone who likes putting together recipes. It used to be a lot more cut-and-dry about bagged and canned or jarred sauerkraut. My opinion is that 10 years ago, any sauerkraut in jars or cans would be fairly strong with an unpleasant odor and mouthfeel. That has all changed in the last couple years.
I’ve found that Bubbies makes an exceptionally good sauerkraut that I eat right out of the jar. It is just fantastic. No need to change anything – it is just that good. There are also a lot of artisanal brands of jarred sauerkraut coming onto the market. Over the last four weeks, I’ve been crushing through Cleveland Kraut’s various flavors. If you can find them at your grocery store, the Gnar Gnar and Garlic are my absolute favorites. Try the Gnar Gnar on a sandwich or in a salad with pressure cooker pulled pork or shredded beef. Think about adding it as a topping on tacos too. Outstanding!
For cooking purposes, I would not recommend Bubbies or Cleveland Kraut. It’s not because they aren’t delicious (they are!) but that they are comparatively expensive and already seasoned. For cooking, I always purchase SnowFloss bagged kraut. It’s cheap and fresh. Plus, it has a much better flavor than canned sauerkraut simply because it is not pasteurized.
What is Sauerkraut?
Put simply, sauerkraut is pickled cabbage. It’s fermented food that takes between four to six weeks to complete. A good chef friend of mine, Brian Doyle (owner of Cafe Avalaun, Cleveland’s first and only completely gluten free cafe, bakery and creperie) had a wonderful fermentation class that I wanted to get on the schedule of our cooking school. Making sauerkraut is on my list of culinary goals. Maybe Brian would be willing to guest post for us?
So the process of fermenting sauerkraut involves osmosis that removes the water from the cabbage. I don’t understand the full process but plan on learning more about it and I’ll post up more information when I do. If you are an expert on making sauerkraut, please reach out to me!
Make sure that when you are looking to buy sauerkraut that you find brands that are made with salt rather than vinegar. The vinegar based krauts are not fermented. The vinegar is used to sour the cabbage and I just don’t think it tastes very good.
QUICK COOKING TIP: For this sauerkraut recipe, I am going to assume that you have found some SnowFloss bagged sauerkraut. We are going to be using 1/2 the bag or you can double the recipe and chow down on the full bag. The uncooked kraut will last for weeks in the refrigerator and this cooked sauerkraut recipe will last for about 10 days with ease in the refrigerator… if you have any leftovers. Here are some cooking tips for sauerkraut:
- Rinse. Add the kraut to a colander and rinse it off.
- Add in fat and flavor. Adding in some fat rounds out and accentuates the sourness. Adding in flavors like onion, shallot and bacon provides depth.
- Browning. One of the reasons to split the bag of sauerkraut rather than cooking the whole thing is to prevent crowding in the pan. I really crank the heat to provide some browning to the kraut and if there is too much in the pan, it just steams. Browned sauerkraut is really delicious!
Okay, so we’ve talked about the types of sauerkraut, what it is and some tips on how to cook it. Maybe we should get into this easy sauerkraut recipe now? Let’s do it.
EASY SAUERKRAUT RECIPE
- 2 TBSP Duck Fat or Rendered Bacon Fat
- 1 Cup Onion, diced (Approx ½ onion, Spanish)
- 1 Pinch Kosher Salt
- 2-3 Strips Cooked Bacon diced
- 1 LB Sauerkraut (from a bag), drained and rinsed
- 1 Dollop Sour Cream (optional) to serve with
- In a large saute pan, heat the duck fat at the highest setting. When the fat shimmers and is really hot, carefully add in the onions and a good pinch of salt. Stir and allow to brown, then stir occasionally for another 5 minutes.
- Add in the chopped bacon, mix well.
- Add in the sauerkraut and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes on high, then reduce the heat to medium.
- The sauerkraut is ready when it is golden brown and smells delicious.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Final thoughts on this golden brown, bacon spiked Sauerkraut Recipe:
My favorite way to enjoy cooked sauerkraut is with a dollop of sour cream. I’m not sure why, I just really love the two flavors together. Last weekend some of our good friends came over to the house for an afternoon play date for the kids and to catch up. I made some Roasted Garlic Burgers (recipe coming soon!) smothered in Jarlsberg cheese, topped with this sauerkraut recipe and about a teaspoon of sour cream. The plates were clean within minutes. So yummy. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!
Here are some great main dish ideas to pair with the sauerkraut recipe: Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops made with roasted garlic, thyme and rosemary. Or give either of these awesome recipes a try: Beef & Pork Burgers or my Delightfully Different Pork Burger Recipe. The first has a wonderful mix of pork, beef and spice and the second is packed full of awesome flavors that pair perfectly with the saurkraut. If you have some time and a nice pork shoulder, you could make my super juicy pulled pork recipe. When it is done cooking and shredded, make some pulled pork sliders with sauerkraut. Oh so yum.