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September 2013

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Starving Artists in the Kitchen--sneak preview #2, J.'s first contribution!


KIELBASA & KRAUT MEDLEY

kateslover  fixed dinner last night, while I curled up by the chiminea he got for me, reading a new Kelly Armstrong book by a warm, crackling fire...is life good, or what?!  He chatted with an old friend on the phone as he cooked, then when he brought the plates out by the fire, told me he'd taken photos, just as I've been doing for the new shared food blog.

Hooray!  I said "then you can write it up for Starving Artists?"--and lo, he did, and you'll find it below!  This is one of my favorite cool-weather dinners, hearty and somewhat German in flavor, savory with meat and onions and fruit...YUM. 

Somehow, eaten by the fire on a lovely November evening, cooked by my love, it tasted even better than I remembered!



Kielbasa & Kraut Medley

4 6-8” kielbasa (about 2 lbs)
2 C sauerkraut
4 small apples (Jonathans are good), cored and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
Canola oil

Brown the kielbasa well in a little bit of canola oil.  Remove from pan, add onion and cook until glazed.  Add apples and cook until slightly browned.  If you’re drinking beer or hard cider while cooking, you can add a little of that.  Add kielbasa and kraut.  Stir up well, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Serves six--or makes wonderful leftovers!

------------------

(Of course I have to nib in and add my thoughts on this...)

You  can use turkey kielbasa (or smoked sausage) if you're watching your fat intake--tastes great anyway--and tart apples are definitely marvelous in it.  (This isn't the place for sweet, bland, mealy apples that fall apart when cooked!  You want that tart-sweet flavor.  We like to buy local Jonathans, askateslover  mentions, organically grown if possible.) 



I like sweet Bavarian sauerkraut in this, the kind with caraway seeds, if I haven't made my own--and that I haven't done in a lot of years!  The above illustration was painted 30 years ago, from a batch of my own home-canned Bavarian-style stuff--it still hangs in my kitchen today, a lovely reminder of those years.  (It's gouache and sepia ink on a warm tan matboard background.)

Making sauerkraut is dead easy, as far as the process goes, but it can be a tad tricky.  The right temperature range and careful cleanliness are needed to insure proper fermentation. 

When my late husband and I lived on our little back-to-the-land farm and I canned mountains of stuff from our own organic garden, I made some of the best and worst I've ever tasted--and one memorable batch that was in the root cellar when it flooded, and came out smelling of kerosene from the lantern that decided to float.  Needless to say, that batch didn't get tasted--it didn't even make compost!  Ewwwww...

According to The Joy of Cooking--still my favorite cookbook!--sauerkraut's healthful qualities were recognized as early as 200 B.C. when workers on got a daily ration as they worked on the Great Wall of China.  It appears it was first mentioned in America in 1776, and as expected, it was primarily eaten in German communities.  (Sauerkraut literally means "sour cabbage," in German.)

I couldn't find my old recipe--it was NOT in The Joy--but this site comes close: http://www.kitchenproject.com/kpboard/recipes/HOMEADESAUERKRAUT.htm

Remember, sauerkraut gets milder with cooking--in the wonderful dish above, it just adds a lovely tang.  If you think you hate sauerkraut, you may find differently when you try this recipe!

We hope you enjoy this hearty dish as much as we did--great with hard cider or a rich lager like Sam Adams, too...

Comments

(Anonymous)

Wonderful!

Kraut and sausage, one of my husband's favorites! I will certainly try your recipe, it sounds fabulous. But Kate, I don't think I'll try making the kraut myself...the tricky part threw me!
MaryO

Re: Wonderful!

I don't blame you, Mary! I haven't made it since the late '70s. As I said, it's easy to do, as far as the process goes, but once the magic of fermentation comes into the picture, all bets are off!

(Anonymous)

Sounds wonderful! I never thought to add apples to Kraut and Kielbasa -- definitely will do next time!
Brenda
It makes all the difference, Miss Brenda, you'll love it!
this looks far superior to cottage cheese and raw zucchini. i think i will have to break the "diet rules" and do this one. the apples are perfect, right now, and i love kielbasa and kraut! (my mom always added the caraway seed when she made it. i didn't know any better until i was older, and saw the plain stuff for hot dogs/brats for the first time. duhhh. sheltered childhood, i guess!
I figure there's about as much sodium in cottage cheese as in kraut. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Yum, caraway seeds!
and the kraut is much lower in calories, too. yeah. that's a plan for my days off, coming up soon. laundry, cleaning garage, and fall food.

next on my list is "stuffed pumpkin". take one small pie pumpkin, hollow it out.....

fill it up with a mixture of browned sausage, a bit of sage, onion if you like, sauteed celery, leftover wild rice (or brown rice), some rosemary, and a bit of any other herbs you love. plunk the lid back on, or cover with foil. bake in a shallow pan until "fork tender" through the side in a 350 oven. take out when "done", and let sit for about 15 minutes--then cut through it in wedges, and serve up tasty pumpkin/goodies. it would work with a squash, too--but that pumpkin is so tasty, and it is so pretty!

the kids expect it every fall--tradition, i guess, dies hard, even when they've moved out and have lives...
Oooooh, I've had that before, it's HEAVENLY! Thank you for sharing, girlfriend!

(Anonymous)

Kate, I FINALLY tried this -- it is so very yummy. My husband and I both say it's a definite "keeper!"
Brenda
Glad you enjoy it, it's one of my favorites!