November 17, 2010

Slow Cooked Sauerkraut

28 oz sauerkraut
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon charnushka (aka black caraway or kalonji)
1 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 small onion, thinly sliced

Place all ingredients in a 2 or 4 quart slow cooker. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Cook on low 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Stir. Serve hot.

My thoughts:
I know I've mentioned it before but it wasn't until I was in college that I realized not everyone has sauerkraut at Thanksgiving. It really is a Baltimore thing, probably the result of the large number of German immigrants that settled here although other areas with similar populations did not adopt the sauerkraut tradition. I guess I am biased, but sauerkraut is perfect for Thanksgiving. It goes great with turkey and cuts the sweetness of the cranberry sauce and some side dishes. In recent years, I've started to make it in the slow cooker, which is I think is one of my more clever holiday ideas. While sauerkraut is easy to make on the stove, it does take up an extra burner and is prone to scorching if you don't keep an eye on it. No worries in the slow cooker. Last year I made a porky version but this year I created a vegetarian (well, vegan, actually) recipe that I think might be even better. The other one was still very, very good but I am not sure if it is the absence of pork or the addition of new spices but this was great; pickle-y but not too sour and with just the right amount of fresh herbs and spices to keep it from tasting too flat and one dimensional.

As an aside, here is a Mencken story that mentions Baltimore's love of sauerkraut at Thanksgiving.