4 cups sauerkraut, washed and well drained
1 heaping cup white onion, diced
4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
1 medium potato, peeled
1 cup applesauce or 1 grated apple
Salt and black pepper to taste
The first thing you have to do is prepare the basic sauerkraut (pour it into a colander, wash it well several times, and drain it thoroughly, pressing out as much water as possible).
In the meantime, in a large heavy skillet cook down the bacon until it sweats.
Then drop in the onions, stir everything together, and sauté the onions with the bacon for about 6 minutes until the onions turn a golden brown.
It’s at this point that you add the sauerkraut to the skillet, along with the white wine, the caraway seeds, and the bay leaves.
Now take the time to toss everything together well and simmer the kraut mix—covered—for approximately 45 minutes (remember—the heat is set on low).
After the allotted cooking time, grate the potato, mix it into the sauerkraut, and simmer everything—again covered—for about 12 to 15 minutes more or until the potato is soft (the potato helps to thicken the kraut).
Finally, when you're ready to eat, season the sauerkraut with the applesauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
German master chef Willy Koln used to tell me that good sauerkraut is like red beans and rice—it is best about 3 days after it's cooked!
So you can make this well in advance of your Oktoberfest celebration and reheat it when it’s served.
1. I prefer to buy the refrigerated bottled sauerkraut. In my opinion and experience, it tastes a whole lot better than the canned stuff!
2. A large potato masher works well to remove from the kraut excess water (from the washing process).
3. If you prefer, juniper berries could be substituted for the caraway seeds if you can find them in the spice section of your grocery store.
4. You also have the option of grating a fresh apple and cooking it into the kraut as opposed to using applesauce as a final sweetener. If you do opt to use a fresh apple, add it to the dish at the same time you add the grated potato.