November 01, 2012

Apples & Sauerkraut

32 oz finely shredded sauerkraut
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 apples, peeled and sliced (I used Honeycrisp)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon Brummel & Brown
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper

Melt the Brummel & Brown in a small skillet. Saute the apples and onion until the onions are translucent.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mustard seed in the bottom of a 4 quart slow cooker until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to evenly distribute. Cook on low 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Serve hot.

My thoughts:
It isn't Thanksgiving in Baltimore unless there is sauerkraut! Thanks to an influx of German immigrants well over 100 years ago and who added very German sauerkraut to the very American holiday menu, everyone in Baltimore serves sauerkraut for Thanksgiving. Some even make it themselves! I've heard so many stories of people who grew up in Baltimore and didn't realize it was a regional quirk until going out of state for Thanksgiving for the first time. How disappointed they must have been!

I admit, it seems a bit odd but sauerkraut pairs wonderfully with turkey and cuts the sweetness of some other side dishes. Personally, I like over my mashed potatoes and scooped on my fork when I am taking a bite of homemade jellied cranberry sauce. I've made a few different versions of Thanksgiving sauerkraut over the years but never a sweet-sour one. I came across a mention of a German dish that had apples, sauerkraut and wine in it and thought I'd pay homage to the inspiration of this tradition by adding apples to my dish. The apples cut the tartness of the sauerkraut which is already tempered by the long cooking time. You could make this on the stove top (instead of popping it in the slow cooker, cook it over a low flame in a tightly-lidded Dutch oven for about 2 1/2 hours) but that takes up a lot of room on the stove that I need for making non-jellied cranberry sauce, gravy and vegetables.