Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Food From Friends: Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut from The Netherlands
by Charlotte

When you get invited to dinner for roast chicken, homemade sushi or an Italian feast the answer is always yes please. Does the offer of sauerkraut earn the same amount of enthusiasm? I don't think it does but it surely should do!

Here's a little tale of how I discovered the joys of sauerkraut. One sunny weekend I was in the Netherlands on a boat with some Dutch friends and Matt (pizza oven enthusiast). They sail every year for 3 weeks and we decided to join them for a long weekend. One evening a delicious smelling supper was being prepared, and yes it turned out to be a meal of sauerkraut with pork escalopes, potatoes, mushrooms and many other delightful flavours. This was my first sauerkraut experience: a momentous occasion.

The trip ended and a few weeks later I was on the hunt for a birthday present for a friend; a very creative young lady who has many hobbies and is good at many things. I ended up in a vintage shop with a copy of Mrs Beeton's Cookbook and Household Management in my hand - a 'must have' I decided. 

That evening we had decided to treat some friends to the sauerkraut experience but had not located a recipe. Lo and behold, Mrs. Beeton (she won't let you down) had the perfect pork and sauerkraut dish to hand. We had 5 guests, who may have been a little apprehensive although they didn't let on. Lucinda might have made a couple of small comments (she always does) but obviously she quickly became a sauerkraut aficionado along with the rest of the dinner table.

So, the moral of the story is sauerkraut is a winner. It's easy to prepare and not only delicious but incredibly reasonable and available in all major supermarkets! Think we got a large jar for 89p. Here's a similar recipe to try (I've now given Mrs. Beeton to the birthday girl!) 

Best served on a large Dutch barge after a hard day's sailing. If this is not possible a kitchen table should do the trick. Invite the skeptics and convert! Enjoy.

IngredientsServes: 4-6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 potatoes, cut into large pieces
5 juniper berries
1 clove
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
4 strips of bacon, cut into rough squares
500g of sauerkraut
4 pork escalopes, cut into chunky strips
1 glass of dry white wine 

In a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt the oil over a medium heat. When hot, add the onions and sautee until transclucent (about five minutes or so). Then, add the sauerkraut, white wine, juniper berries, clove, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and garlic. Add the pork strips and bacon. Cover and simmer for about two hours.

In another saucepan, simmer the peeled potatoes (if you're using new potatoes leave the skins on and just cut in half). Simmer until the potatoes are done and add to the pot before serving.


Out of interest, have you thought about doing full-on reviews of cookery books, as separate posts? I see you've already made a start with the 'our food heroes' bit in the sidebar, so would be interesting to see each of them expanded into longer pieces.

I like doing various reviews myself, though naturally that is absolutely nothing to do with cooking. ;p

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