Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sauerkraut with Four Fats

Ha! Ha! Bet you've never seen this recipe before. Actually, I found a recipe very similar to the one my German mother-in-law taught me, on the web. The recipe spans Eastern France to East Prussia, but true cuisine knows few boundaries.

http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1926,158182-241203,00.html This recipe is for Alsatian kraut. My mother-in-law was from Silesia. She sure could cook.

Sometimes Kielbasa are on sale. I always purchase those with half turkey, being leaner and we've decided we like the less fatty flavor better. So what's with the four fats recipe?

Came home from out of town. Found the Kielbasa almost past it's "date" in the fridge. Also found a big can of imported kraut from the Job Lot. Get to work.

Chopped up an onion, and found, like one teaspoon of butter in the dish. Aha! There is a smidgeon of chicken fat from the roast chicken of the night before we left. Tossed that into the skillet. Ye gods! What's this weird red stuff. Omigod, it's the fat I drained off the barbequed brisket. I put it in the freezer for the trash pickup, but took about a tablespoon of that to add to the (so far) other fats. Then I espied two slices of pancetta in the freezer, so I thawed those out and chopped them up. Now we have pork, chicken and beef fats and a bit of butter.

Browned the onions in same. Man, did they look good. Added some carraway seeds and a bay leaf. Dumped in the little bit of gelatinous chicken broth. Oh yum! Cut the kielbasa into 4 and tossed it in. Found a bit of andouille sausage in the freezer and put that into the pot. On top of the meats, I dumped the drained and rinsed kraut, and stirred it up.

Added a goodly amount of white wine, Vermouth from the fridge, always handy. Any white, even champagne will do. Cooked on slow heat for 15 minutes. Stirred again and cooked another 15 minutes. Oh, and I dumped a tablespoon of brown sugar into the browned onion, but I could just as well chopped an apple and added. You need a bit of sweetness.

You can keep adding wine and cook all day or stop there are reheat later. We made two meals of it, with mashed potatoes and Insalata Caprese for an appetizer. Tonight, the sauerkraut had mellowed into something that transcended saurkraut. Delicious.

Always have a good brand of German mustard. We drag something called "Loewensenf" back with us when we go to Germany. Keeps forever. Comes in a yellow tube. A superior mustard.

You can open a can of sauerkraut and heat it up or you can make something special. This was not a time hog and the big work was chopping the onion. I mean, we aren't talking The French Laundry here, but the result was stunning.

So keep bits of leftovers; they may create your reputation as a stellar chef. And the chicken sandwiches we ate on the road were extra good. I put the carcass in the freezer for later soup making. We have discovered that if you share a sandwich, a drink and a bag of chips that's enough for get you through an afternoon of driving without tiredness. O.K. we didn't share the Pepperidge Farm cookies.

If you can't make your own sandwiches, Panera Bread does a fine job, and those are also big enough to share. We had a lunch time picnic along the Erie Canal that defined pleasant. And a $7.00 chicken served us three meals and we'll get at least 3 more. The price is right. Just do it.

Grapeshot

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