A combination of fermented cabbage, salt and spices, sauerkraut is a traditional hot dog topping. However, when paired with kielbasa and simmered slowly in a slow cooker, the result is a hearty meal with a German flair. Although canned sauerkraut is readily available, the fresh version provides a tangier flavor and delightfully crunchy texture. If you don't have time to make fresh sauerkraut, most supermarkets carry bagged, fresh sauerkraut in the deli or refrigerated section.
Place your choice of vegetables in the slow cooker. For example, use sliced onions and 1-inch chunks of small red potatoes, green bell peppers, carrots and celery.
Rinse the fresh sauerkraut in cool water; then drain it thoroughly before adding it to the vegetable mixture.
Stir in chicken broth and a small amount of white wine or apple cider. As a general rule, use about 2 cups of liquid for each pound of kielbasa.
Season the ingredients with salt and freshly ground black pepper, along with a spoonful of French, Dijon or spicy brown mustard.
Cut the kielbasa into 2-inch pieces; then stir the pieces into the sauerkraut mixture.
Cook the mixture on high for four to five hours or on low for seven to eight hours.
Serve the hot kielbasa and sauerkraut immediately.
- Always rinse and drain fresh sauerkraut before using.
- If your fresh sauerkraut is too salty, soak it in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes; then drain thoroughly.
- Add an apple along with, or instead of, the vegetables, for a different, slightly sweet flavor. Peel, core and slice a baking apple such as Rome Beauty, Granny Smith or Fuji.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.