This one comes courtesy of my mother-in-law. I was never a fan of sauerkraut in the U.S., partially because I came across it so rarely (my mother has this general distaste for cruciferous vegetables). When I moved up to Detroit and had my mother-in-law’s version, while it was a revelation, I didn’t have a burning desire to make my own. But then we moved to Germany and it was everywhere, so I decided I needed to learn to deal with it and do it well. It’s important to not over-rinse the sauerkraut; even if you’re not a fan of the tang, you’ll need it to balance the richness of the sausage and give the potatoes some flavor. And the apples don’t make it sweet, they just take some of the edge off of the cabbage.
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t caraway seeds
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 k/2 lb polish sausage, thickly sliced (kielbasa or Rohpolnisch are good here)
3-4 small potatoes, cut into chunks (about the size of a halved wine cork)
2 small cooking apples, cut into chunks (smaller than the potatoes – use tart apples if you want to avoid it being too sweet)
2 large cans sauerkraut, lightly rinsed and NOT squeezed out
1/2-1 c water
Heat oven to 175 C°/350 F°. Cut first 4 ingredients together and set aside. Heat a large, oven-safe Dutch oven with lid over medium heat and add sausage. Cook sausage until well browned, then remove Dutch oven from heat. Add potatoes, apples, sauerkraut and brown sugar mixture and stir until well combined. Add water and place in oven covered. Cook for about 2 hours, checking every 40 minutes or so to stir and add water if needed. It’s done when you can pierce a potato with no resistance.
Also works in a crockpot (low 7-9 hours/high 3-4) or on the stove top (low heat, stir more frequently).