Smoky kielbasa and tangy sauerkraut cooked with tomatoes and apples for a touch of the sweet are a winning combination. Healthy and delicious!
Take a look at our recipe for Homemade Sauerkraut.
Fermenting has been a way of life for generations in many countries all over the world. I grew up eating sauerkraut, fermented cucumbers, tomatoes as well as drinking kefir.
Having ferments as a part of our daily diet carries enormous health benefits, which is why they are back in style, and on our tables. Apart from eating them raw, it is very common to cook with them where I came from.
Cooking with Sauerkraut
This Beet and Sauerkraut Salad aka Salat Vinegret is still one of my personal favourites. I often bake using kefir, a fermented dairy drink, as it acts as a natural raising agent. Just look how tall and fluffy these kefir pancakes are!
The recipe, I am sharing today, is another example of how you can utilise sauerkraut in your cooking but before I go too far let me tell you this.
I realise the pungent flavour of fermented cabbage might not be to everybody’s taste. For these people, I have an alternative recipe made with fresh Savoy cabbage, braised with bacon and mushrooms, and made even more delicious with sour cream.
If you are not brave enough to go all in, you can always dilute the flavour a bit by using half fermented, half fresh cabbage.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- I used Russian style sauerkraut, which often comes with carrots added. If yours is plain, I strongly recommend adding fresh grated carrots to the dish. They add a nice sweet balance to the sour cabbage.
- Apple cider, fresh apple and a touch of tomato paste are added to the recipe for the same reason as the one above. They balance out the sour notes.
- The nutty, with a light taste of licorice, caraway seeds are absolutely lovely. However, they could taste quite strong to the uninitiated. I used to despise them as a child. Proceed with caution and use sparingly.
- Finally, I absolutely adore kielbasa and I use it often. Be it a traditional recipe like this Russian Beef Stew Solyanka. Or my own interpretation of the classic Macaroni and Cheese with Kielbasa, the smoky flavour and the savory taste never disappoint. If you are not able to source it, substitute with bacon.
Favourite Eastern European Recipes to Try: (or browse or Russian Recipe Collection)
- Potato, Bacon and Caramelised Onion Pierogi (Vareniki)
- Borscht Recipe
- Russian Salad Olivier
- Cabbage Rolls Golubtsi
Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
- 300g-350g/4 kielbasa sliced
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 80ml/1/4 cup apple cider
- 500g/4 cups drained sauerkraut with carrots *see notes
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- 1 apple grated
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Slice the kielbasa sausage thickly and pan fry until golden on both sides. (I used no oil for this step as the sausage releases plenty of fat when fried) Remove to a plate.
- To the same deep pan, add the chopped onion and sauté for 7-10 minutes, then add pressed garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider.
- Then add the drained sauerkraut with carrots and caraway seeds and 1 grated apple. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 bay leaf. Bring the fried kielbasa back to the pan and cook covered in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes.