Sauerkraut is a love it or hate it vegetable. Me? One of my first solo food experiences was buying a Polish Boy from a hot dog vendor in downtown Cleveland. With everything, of course, including a heap of sauerkraut on top. Treating myself with a Polish Boy every now and again got me through four miserable years of high school.
…I’m sorry, I took a wrong turn down memory lane. Where was I? Oh, right, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut.
Here I’m using a different Polish sausage – Kielbasa, smoked and garlicky – to flavor the sauerkraut. This helps the “hate it” crowd by infusing sauerkraut with pork fat and smoky sausage to cut the sour flavor.
My wife hated the annual taste of sauerkraut that Grandma forced on all the grandchildren. My love of those hot dogs, loaded with sauerkraut, almost derailed our relationship before it started. She couldn’t believe I loved those “stinky dogs”. Luckily for me…she got over it.
The pressure cooker speeds things up – twelve minutes under pressure replaces an hour of simmering. (No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes for stove top instructions.)
Need some good luck in the new year? Don’t forget your pork and sauerkraut!
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced (preferably Granny Smith)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 cup dry white wine (preferably Riesling)
2 lb sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
Brown a batch of kielbasa: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add enough kielbasa, cut side down, to cover the bottom of the pot in a loose layer. (For my instant pot, this was about half the kielbasa.) Brown the kielbasa on both sides, about six minutes, then remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the fat as possible. (Add the rest of the kielbasa to the bowl; don’t worry about browning it - we just needed the one batch browned to flavor the rest of the ingredients.)
Saute the onion, apple, and spices; add everything to the pot: Add the onion and apple to the pressure cooker pot, and sprinkle with the salt, caraway seeds, and juniper berries. Saute, scraping the bottom to loosen the browned pork bits, until the onion and apple soften, about five minutes. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer for one minute, scraping the bottom to loosen any stuck onions. Add the sauerkraut, chicken broth, and the bowl of kielbasa plus any accumulated kielbasa juices. Stir until everything is well mixed.
Pressure cook on high for 12 minutes: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the cooker to high pressure, and pressure cook for 12 minutes for an Electric PC or 10 minutes in a stovetop PC. (On the instant pot, use the Manual setting, and set the cook time for 12 minutes.) When the cooking time is over, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. (On the Instant Pot or other electric cookers, cancel the “keep warm” setting.)
Serve: Transfer the kielbasa and sauerkraut from the pot to a platter with a slotted spoon. Serve.
Cuisine: Eastern European |Recipe Type: Pressure Cooker
No pressure cooker? No worries. Cook everything in a dutch oven with a lid. Follow the instructions until step 3. For step 3, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.
No juniper berries? Replace it with gin – juniper is one of the major flavors. Skip the juniper berries, and replace the half cup of white wine with a quarter cup of gin.
Ready to serve
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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