Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples

All this talk of the sweet goodness you can make apples this season, and as someone rightly pointed out to me, there are many savory things you can make with apples as well. My dear Minnesota-raised father, who cannot resist any recipe with both sauerkraut and bacon, couldn’t wait to try this apple and bacon sauerkraut from the Niman Ranch Cookbook. The trick is to use good quality sauerkraut; the best stuff, according to dad, is refrigerated and in a jar. He drains it, but doesn’t rinse it, lest the flavor rinses away. A good quality apple-wood smoked bacon helps too. If you love sauerkraut as much as we do (and there are fewer and fewer of us out there these days, unfortunately), you’ll love this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound sliced apple-wood smoked bacon
  • 2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 3 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds of refrigerated (in a jar, not can), prepared sauerkraut, drained (about 1 24-fluid-ounce jar, drained)

Method

1 Lay the slices of bacon down at the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot and heat on medium heat. Cook until the bacon has browned and most of the bacon fat has been rendered, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot and set on paper towels to drain. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the fat in the pot. (Do not pour down the sink, bacon fat will clog your drain!) Chop the bacon and set aside.

2 Add the chopped onions and apples to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and caraway and cook for a minute more.

3 Add the apple juice and the white vinegar to the pot. Increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the sauerkraut and bacon to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauerkraut has been heated through and is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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