A recipe (really, more of a method) which developed over many years based on the instructions of some very good cooks, some who really knew about sausage and sauerkraut.
2 or 3 14-15 oz cans shredded sauerkraut
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 apple, cored and sliced thinly (unpeeled is fine)
1-2 tsp caraway seeds
1 or2 lbs kielbasa
1 cup apple juice, beer or water (more or less)
Rinse well and drain the sauerkraut. Place in a casserole dish or dutch oven. Add onion, apple, and caraway seeds. Mix a bit. Cut kielbasa in serving pieces and arrange on top of sauerkraut mixture. Pour liquid over all. Cover. Bake in 275-300 degree F oven for 3-4 hours. Stir after an hour or so making sure that the meat is covered with sauerkraut. It should have browned nicely while on top of the sauerkraut. Add liquid if needed. Cook uncovered if too much too much liquid remains toward end of cooking period.
We use the cheapest sauerkraut we can find in cans. It doesn’t matter how good the stuff is right out of the can. This recipe results in a very caramelized version of ‘kraut & kielbasa.
Some people don’t like caraway seeds. Leave them out if you want to. After this much cooking, there is not much flavor left in them however. We like them, so add quite a few. The addition of apples & onions is from friends in Gary IN who taught me to use some serious kielbasa and Polish wedding sausage. Yum!
Beer, water or apple juice all work well. Beer and apples is probably the best combination. Applesauce can also be used, just a couple of generous spoons full or whatever you like or think would be about an apple’s worth. We used cider one time. Seemed a waste of perfectly good cider! The result was good, but not really any different than using simple juice.
Can be done very satisfactorily in a crock pot. I prefer it from the oven because the sausage becomes a little crispy before being stirred down into the ‘kraut.
Any ringed sausage will do. We usually cut it diagonally into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces.
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