Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sauerkraut and Paprikash…More Than Fun Words to Say

So…it’s been a while. 

You may not have missed me as much as I have missed being here.

And to be honest, I haven’t quite figured it all out yet…what I’m doing about “this blogging thing”. But I do know this. I found a recipe I knew I MUST share with you.

Two recipes, actually.

I’ve been storing them up…just for you.

OK, not really. One recipe led to another. You’ll understand momentarily.

And since I cannot contain my excitement, I won’t even try for a legitimate intro; I’ll dive right in.

Accompany me way back to St. Patrick’s Day (you remember…a few days ago, but time flying as it does, it may as well have been months); cabbage was on sale.

I don’t LOVE cabbage. I find it ok. Cole slaw is not my favorite but I find it edible.

My Lima Bean and Cabbage Soup (aka Soup That Needs a Better Name) is definitely a step or two above cole slaw.

Now sauerkraut…that stuff is fabulous. But only IN stuff.  I don’t believe I could eat it alone.

For instance, it is fantastic in my Sauerkraut Stew. I thought I had posted that recipe but perhaps not. I can’t find it…which doesn’t mean anything except that, perhaps, I inadvertently neglected to label it properly. 

I’m certain that would NEVER happen.

But this also undoubtedly will give you something else to anticipate. If I may make a suggestion, you should probably get a hobby or something.

But I digress.

I was discussing the merits of sauerkraut.

OK, not so much the MERITS but the tastiness.

And we all know where sauerkraut comes from, right? Yes, class, it comes from cabbage…which is why I was talking about cabbage. And thusly sauerkraut.

I know I have some friends out there who have made sauerkraut. I have even tried to convince them to make some for me. But they have not. Clearly we’re not as tight as I had previously thought.

So…when I saw cabbage on sale at Meijer a couple weeks ago, for the low, low price of 14 cents/pound, I moseyed on in to the store and bought for myself a couple heads of cabbage.

I was thrilled when I saw the receipt was only for $1.05.

And then I saw that I had purchased 7.5 pounds of cabbage.

In case you were not away, that makes a fair amount of sauerkraut.

About 7.5 pounds worth, just in case you’re not so great at math. (And yes, that is clearly a joke, because I had to remove the cores…which probably amounted to 1.5 pounds total…so it was about 6 pounds of sauerkraut when it was all said and done. It’s still a lot.)

So when I got home from the store, I knew I needed to figure out how to make sauerkraut.

I’m just kidding…I looked it up before I went. In case you didn’t know, I am a bit of a planner and I wanted to make sure I had all my ingredients before I began.

I needed cabbage and salt.

Yes, for those of you playing at home…that is it. Cabbage and salt.

And ample containers.

And glass/ceramic plates. 

And jars to weight it down.

That’s it!

So…I read several websites which explained the process of making sauerkraut. Basically you cut it up/shred it and put in a bunch of salt and mix it well (preferably with your hands, because it’s easier…making sure to wash them first; I know I needed to remind some of you about that.). And then put it in a food-safe container. I used my ice cream tubs (don’t judge) and then put a weight on top.

Here’s what mine looked like after a few days; it started out with the cabbage filled to the top, but as the weight presses down on it and the water is forced out, it makes it more compact.

And because I know you're dying to know, here’s what the fermentation process looks like in my pantry.

Yes, it's covered to keep the dust out. I'm selling it, right?

This started out filled to the brim with cabbage; I had two of them that looked like this. That's a lot of sauerkraut...

Why yes, the top of the jar does say "Bug Jar", but I assure you that it was well-washed before use. And the part which houses the bugs is not in contact with the sauerkraut. It's only full of water to weigh it down.
It smells NICE in there too.

As my 12yo said, “What is that smell?!?”

When I told him, he responded with, “Oh, I thought it was some really stinky trash!”

OK, to be fair, I don’t think it’s THAT bad. But then again it might be…I could just be used to it.

How about this: if you are a good friend who lives in the area, please come over and let me know if my house smells like a trash can. Any takers? I’ll even give you a lovely parting gift of a jar of sauerkraut for your time and trouble.

And I won't even use the Bug Jar.

I am thoughtful like that.

So…if you are interested in more detailed directions (hard to imagine that you’d need more details that those I have provided) you can Google it. Or you can just go here (which is the one I used…and don’t be too freaked out…I promise not to be as “into” fermenting stuff as this blogger clearly is…).

Now…once you have your pound (or 6 pounds) of sauerkraut, you will need to find a use for it.

As previously mentioned, sauerkraut stew is always an option (recipe forthcoming).

As are hot dogs with sauerkraut.

And Reubens are always good.

(My mouth is watering!)

Here’s the problem…I didn’t have the ingredients to make any of those items. I was focused on making the sauerkraut and NOT what I was going to make which included said sauerkraut.

The devil’s in the details. And maybe I am not as much of a planner as I previously was claiming.

Don’t judge.

So…my friend Google came in handy. And fortunately, I stumbled on a recipe entitled “Sausage and Sauerkraut Paprikash”.

What was this? Paprikash is a real thing? The only time I ever remember hearing it mentioned is in “When Harry Met Sally”…anyone recall that scene? “Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash. But I will gladly partake of your pecan pie.”


I totally thought paprikash was a made up thing. But then again I had never Googled it so that’s my own fault.

All this aside, I am here to tell you that it is a real recipe and it is AH-MAZING.

And even though this goes without saying, I am going to say it anyway: I had all the ingredients. Bonus…no additional trip to the store.  Wahoo!

Now, without further delay, I give you:

Sausage and Sauerkraut Paprikash
  • 1 1/2 pound frankfurters, hot dogs, or mild German or Polish sausage, cut into 1-2 inch segments
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used red onion b/c that’s what I had…not sure if it matters or not)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used garlic powder…again b/c that’s what I had)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 1 large (25 to 28 ounce) can sauerkraut, drained (obviously, I opted for 4 cups of my home-made brew)
  • 2 cups sour cream

  • Heat a large thick-bottomed pan or Dutch oven on medium heat. Melt the butter, add the onion, garlic, and paprika, cook until the onion is soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the sausage and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the sauerkraut, simmer, covered, 15 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the sour cream (do not let the mixture boil after you've added the sour cream).
  • Serve plain, or with boiled or mashed potatoes. (I had smashed potatoes in the freezer, already cooked…I added salt, pepper, butter and some garlic…because there weren’t enough onions in the paprikash to make us really stinky…)

One final note: I would recommend that you make this when you can have all your windows open. The next day the whole house still smelled like onions…which was convenient b/c it covered up the trash can smell brewing in the pantry.


  1. Oh, yes, paprikash is definitely a real thing - and a delicious one at that! Paprikash plus sauerkraut??? Awesome.
    We just made amazing Reubens - two weeks running and think we had them three or four times because not only did we have an abundant supply of sauerkraut (purchased from the pickle people at the farmers' market), but we found amazingly lean and delicious corned beef at the farmers' market deli that was to. die. for.
    As for sauerkraut alone...Kidzilla loves it. My little weirdo, go figure. It's also good on mashed potatoes, in case you want to know. Kind of replaces gravy. Yum. Kind of like a sauerkraut pierogi but without the dough. We've also used it in a Reuben chicken bake that we do in the crockpot - chicken, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, swiss cheese. A-mazing.
    Why am I rambling about got me thinking, I guess. And now my mouth is watering. And I want to eat sauerkraut.

    Glad to see you back here - miss your posts!

    1. Reuben Chicken the crockpot?!? Sounds fabulous! I will have to Google that one! Thanks for the tip.

      And thanks for the kind words. I may be back a little more often. :)

  2. I don't even care if you are going to share a recipe i'm just glad you are back TODAY and will be glad you come back when you do. take your leave of absence if you must but don't leave us forever!
    I've never had sauerkraut before so I'll take your word for it that it was good!
    Glad to see you!

    1. Thank you, sweet friend!

      Yes, the sauerkraut is tasty...but probably an acquired taste. I am just glad my kids are adventurous eaters b/c it really doesn't smell that good. I'm not selling it to you, am I? ;)

  3. Wow. Who knew there were so many uses for sauerkraut? Our youngest would have to move if I actually made it in our house. Although, it seems something else has died in our house, cause it stinks to high heaven. I wish it was the smell of sauerkraut. Or trash, for that matter.

    1. Well, I think you could make it in your house and if you put it in the basement to ferment it would be ok...I don't think it's SO pungent that the smell would rise to the first floor.

      But don't quote me on that...I am not a licensed professional. I just play one on my blog.

  4. I saw your face in comments and came on over! Hate saurkraut... well fermented stuff maybe... sorry... Im with the stinky trash ideal...My partner used to make fermented rice beer for chinese new year ... he would start in september if that gives you an idea of the length of the fermentation period... argh! gag! Im sure yours was much better! My mom used to make saurkraut dad adored her for it!

    1. Yeah! Thanks for popping over!

      Yes, I don't blame you...the idea of eating fermented food is not appealing to me. If I don't think about it, I am ok. And wow...that is a long time to let something ferment. Yikes!

      And while Mr. AR likes sauerkraut, I'm not certain that he adores me for making it. Yet. I haven't explored enough recipes, I am certain! ;)

  5. I have never eaten sauerkraut, nor do I intend to try it. Can't make me, no matter how much you tout its virtues. But I'm glad YOU like it.

    Love that scene from When Harry Met Sally. I think I read somewhere that Billy Crystal was completely ad libbing that scene.