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.

Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples Recipe

Yum

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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Adapted from The Niman Ranch Cookbook.

Showing 4 of 31 Comments

  • Pille

    We eat loads (and I mean – loads) of sauerkraut here in Estonia, but I’ve never made it with apples before. Sounds like a really delicious recipe (please say thanks! to your dad from me, Elise:)

  • Christine

    Oh, I love sauerkraut! So simple to make also! I am definitely making this a weekend treat!

    A million years ago, I had in-laws in rural PA and New Years was not complete without sauerkraut and dumplings! It’s a PA Dutch good luck ritual. It is so yummy, the perfect comfort food!

    The used a pork broth, purchased in large containers from the local butcher, otherwise make your own with meaty pork bones, so the broth is full of chunks of meat. I have boiled the bone from a Boston butt to do this. Now, to this yummy broth was added a lot of homemade sauerkraut, bring it to a boil and drop homemade dumplings on top, cover and cook as per your dumpling recipe.

    It may sound basic, the seasonings are all in the ingredients but it is sublime! It was served with a sweet pickle relish or a golop of fresh horseradish!

    Note from Elise: Sauerkraut and dumplings sound so good! I’ve got to tell dad. I’m sure he’ll be all over it. Thanks for the suggestion, Christine!

  • christine

    Silly question but why white vinegar? wouldn’t cider vinegar be better? How would it effect taste? Just curious…. :-)

    Note from Elise: Good question. I have no idea. You can probably interchange them just fine for this recipe.

  • Alanna Kellogg

    If there are fewer and fewer sauerkraut lovers these days — I suspect that you’ll make converts with your Dad’s recipe, Elise!

    The sauerkraut from ‘bags’, like that from ‘jars’, is definitely better. And, at least in the Midwest, there are many many small producers of sauerkraut. Some times the sauerkraut makes its way to grocery store shelves, other times into farmers markets. Mostly, however, I just keep an eye out in odd spots, like the corner butcher, who also makes a great sauerkraut using an old family recipe.

    Note from Elise: Dad and I saw an old cabbage slicer at an antique store the other day. He remembered these from growing up in Minnesota. Lots of people had them so they could make their own sauerkraut. Don’t think the climate is right for it here in Northern California, probably not cold enough in the winter, or we would see more fresh sauerkraut here. I think people make it in big barrels that they keep in their basement, don’t they? I’d love to try some truly fresh stuff.

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