Sauerkraut Salads

When cooking was much more seasonal this salad was extremely popular in winter when many other vegetables were unavailable.

Using bottled sauerkraut you can make this salad all year around.  You can also buy vacuum packed sauerkraut in many Polish shops.

Preparing the sauerkraut

There are two ways of preparing the sauerkraut. It all depends on the actual sauerkraut which varies with the home-made or vacuum packed  being milder usually than the bottled &  how sour you like it to be.

Sour is indeed a well loved taste in Poland and sour is a description you can apply to many Polish dishes. There will be more posts on this on the future.

These salads could be considered sweet & sour.

IMG_20150711_183051570_HDR

For all the following salads I have used roughly 200g of sauerkraut which is easily enough as a side-dish for two people.

I think all the following salads benefit from being made a few hours ahead and left to allow the flavours to interact and mellow.

Preparation Method 1

Just take some of the sauerkraut and sieve of some of the liquor.

IMG_20151126_070444950
Sieve off some of the liquor

Preparation Method 2

Put the sauerkraut into a jug or bowl and add some water to rinse off the liquor.

IMG_20151126_070120128

Use Water to Rinse the Sauerkraut

IMG_20151126_070444950
Rinse off the Water

My personal preference is to use method 1 with the sauerkraut just drained and not rinsed.

Sauerkraut & Apple Salad

Ingredients

Around 200g of Sauerkraut

1 tasty eating apple such as Jazz or Braeburn

2 to 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

IMG_20151126_065926122

Method

Prepare the sauerkraut and put it in a dish.

Grate the apple, skin and flesh using a coarse grater and add this to the sauerkraut. Mix the two together.

Add the sunflower oil and sugar and mix well.

Leave in a cool place for a couple of hours before serving.

IMG_20151126_071637240

Serving Dish by J & G Meakin – Topic – designed by Alan Rogers in 1967

In the restaurant in the Polish Centre in Leeds they serve a wonderful sauerkraut and carrot salad – secret recipe of course! – the following is the nearest I can get to it.

Sauerkraut & Carrot Salad 1

Ingredients

Around 200g of Sauerkraut

1 carrot

1 tasty eating apple such as Jazz or Braeburn

2 to 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

IMG_20151125_173758445

IMG_20151126_065938397

 

 

 

 

Method

Prepare the sauerkraut and put it in a dish.

Peel and grate the carrot using a coarse grater.

IMG_20151126_071607024

Grate the apple, skin and flesh, using a coarse grate.

Add the grated carrot and the apple  to the sauerkraut.

Mix them all together.

Add the sunflower oil and sugar and mix well.

Leave in a cool place for a couple of hours before serving.

IMG_20151125_175325600
Mid 20th Century Pyrex Dish

IMG_20151125_180151431

IMG_20151126_072049460

Serving Dish is Carnation by Royal Doulton 1982 to 1998

 

IMG_20151125_183717288
Meat Loaf  and Sauerkraut & Carrot Salad

 

Sauerkraut & Carrot Salad 2

Ingredients (as salad 1 but less carrot)

Around 200g of Sauerkraut

Half a carrot

1 tasty eating apple such as Jazz or Braeburn

2 to 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Method

Prepare the sauerkraut and put it in a dish.

Peel and grate the carrot using a coarse grater.

Grate the apple, skin and flesh, using a coarse grate.

Add the grated carrot and the apple  to the sauerkraut.

Mix them all together.

Add the sunflower oil and sugar and mix well.

Leave in a cool place for a couple of hours before serving.

IMG_20151126_071833315

 

Tip

Once you have opened a jar of sauerkraut if you are not going to make something else with it in the next day or so you can portion it up and freeze it for later use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Bigos

Bigos is often called Poland’s national dish. It is Poland’s sweet and sour dish using sweet (fresh) cabbage and sour(fermented) cabbage (sauerkraut).

Quick Bigos

This is a smaller, quicker version than the traditional bigos recipe.

I often make it somewhere  in between the traditional recipe and this quick recipe as all the amount are very flexible.

If you can only get large jars of sauerkraut then you can put half the contents into a plastic bag or box and freeze it for later use.

Getting Ready to Cook Bigos
Getting Ready to Cook Bigos

kapusta 3

Bigos
Bigos
Bigos
Bigos

Ingredients

500g sauerkraut (1 small tin or jar or half a large jar)

300g fresh white cabbage – 1 small head or half a large head

100g of Frankfurters or Polish Ring

100g smoked bacon

1 large onion

100g tomato purée (1/2 tube)

20g plain flour

2 bay leaves

3 to 4 peppercorns

sugar or lemon juice to taste – optional

fat/oil to fry in

note – salt should not be needed as the sausage and bacon contain salt.

Finely chop the fresh cabbage into long strands and place in a large pan with the sauerkraut.

In a jug mix the tomato purée with some hot water and then add this to the pan. Add more boiling water to cover the cabbage mixture.

Add the bay leaves and peppercorns and then boil gently till the cabbage is becoming soft.

Slice up the various smoked sausages, chop the bacon into small squares and add to the cabbage mixture and boil gently till everything is soft.

Chop the onion into small pieces and fry till golden, add the flour and fry till the mixture is just about to burn and then add this mixture to the bigos.

Adjust the sourness to taste with sugar and or lemon juice.

Now you can either heat it all together gently over a low heat with a lid on the pan, stirring the mixture occasionally or put the mixture into a large oven proof dish (I use an enamelled dish) with a lid and put it in the oven at GM 4 – 180oC for about 2 hours.

Bigos tastes better if made one day, left overnight, and then reheated in a saucepan or in a dish in the oven.

Note

Bigos freezes well – I portion it up into manageable portions which will serve 2 or 3 – wrapping it in plastic bags within a plastic box to prevent the tomato staining the plastic.

Serving

Bigos is usually served with rye bread but I often serve it with boiled or mashed potatoes.

Bigos

Bigos is often called Poland’s national dish. It is served at every large gathering: christenings, weddings, funerals and every other excuse for getting together for food and drink. It is best made in advance by at least a day and then reheated. My father used to talk about using a horse and cart to take large wooden barrels of bigos to where there was going to be a celebration.

It is Poland’s sweet and sour dish using sweet (fresh) cabbage and sour (sauerkraut) cabbage. How sweet and sour you make it depends on taste, I always use roughly equal amounts of fresh and sour cabbage – a large white cabbage to a large tin or jar of sauerkraut. You can add sugar or some lemon juice to alter the sweet/sour balance.

This was a Hunter’s stew with all the meat and game that was available in the long hard winters going into the pot with the cabbage. A variety of mixed fresh and smoked meats and sausages are used, the amount can vary with how much meat you have.

Served with rye bread with or without butter and a glass of beer or vodka, it is delicious.

The mixture of cabbage and tomato in bigos is very Polish, as a little girl I thought that cooked cabbage was always orange to red rather that pale to dark green as my mother always used the two together in all her cabbage recipes.

Tomatoes were brought to Poland in the 16th century by the Italian chefs who came with the Italian Princess Bona Sforza who married the Polish King, Zygmunt the Old. The Polish word for tomato – pomidor, shows its Italian origin.

Getting Ready to Cook Bigos
Getting Ready to Cook Bigos
Dried Mushrooms
Dried Mushrooms

IMG_20150704_125955216

Enamel Pans
Enamel Pans
Enamel Pans
Enamel Pans

I have many of these enamel pans they are good for slow cooking in the oven.

Bigos
Bigos
Bigos
Bigos
Serving up Bigos
Serving up Bigos

Traditional Bigos

There are lots of variations you can make to the following recipe and everyone seems to have their own version. I find the following proportions work out very well every time and the bigos is moist but not like a soup.

This makes a large amount which is good for a family gathering.

Often I make this in advance and then portion it up into 4 parts and then pack these into large plastic bags or tubs and freeze them – so I always have some on hand.  Note – the tomato stains the plastic tubs so I often put a bag inside a tub. I also then wrap the tub in another bag as the aroma is strong even when frozen and this stops it affecting other food in the freezer.

Ingredients

900g sauerkraut (1large tin or jar)

500g fresh white cabbage (1 large head)

200g to 400g Pork (shoulder or spare rib)

150 to 300g mixed smoked sausage such as kabanos, Polish ring or Frankfurters

150g smoked bacon

1 large onion

10g dried mushrooms

100g tomato purée (1/2 tube)

20g plain flour

2 bay leaves

3 to 4 peppercorns

sugar or lemon juice to taste –optional

fat/oil to fry in.

note – salt should not be needed as the sausage and bacon contain salt.

Put the sauerkraut in a large pan and add boiling water until it is covered and boil gently for 1 hour till it is soft. Take care not to let it boil dry and push the sauerkraut down occasionally so it stays under the water.

Finely chop the fresh cabbage into long strands and place in another large pan with the dried mushrooms, add water to cover the cabbage and boil till soft and as with the sauerkraut take care it does not boil dry.

Pre heat the oven to GM3– 150o C

Chop the pork into small cubes and fry till brown on all sides.

Chop the bacon into small squares.

Add 100g of the bacon and all the pork to the sauerkraut and boil gently till everything is soft.

Make crisp skwarki* with the rest of the bacon and add to the sauerkraut.

Chop the onion into small pieces and fry till golden, add the flour and fry till the mixture is just about to burn.

Add the cooked fresh cabbage with all the liquid and the fried onion mixture to the sauerkraut.

Slice up the various smoked sausage and add to the bigos.

Add the tomato purée, bay leaves and peppercorns.

You can add some sugar or lemon juice at this stage; this depends on how sour you like the bigos and often depends on the sauerkraut used. I rarely do either of these.

Now you can heat it all together gently over a low heat with a lid on the pan or put the mixture into a large oven proof dish; I use a large oval enamelled dish, and put it in the oven for about 3 hours.

Bigos tastes better if made one day, left overnight, and then reheated in the pan or in the dish in the oven.

*skwarki – small squares of bacon fried till the fat comes out and you are left with little crisp bits.

Poles Love to Eat Cabbage

Cabbage is a vegetable that plays a very large part in Polish cookery.  It can be eaten raw  in a variety of salads or cooked in many different ways.

Cabbages grow well in Poland and they can be stored for part of the winter so giving a supply for most of the year.

Veg Market - Copy

Cabbages For Sale in a Polish Market

Cabbages can also be preserved by allowing them to ferment using brine. This fermented cabbage is called sauerkraut in German which means sour cabbage.

My parents used to tell me about how their parents made barrels and barrels of fermented cabbage, shredding the cabbage finely, adding salt and packing it firmly into the barrels. This was standard work after harvesting cabbages and would provide a basic ingredient for many dishes throughout the coming year.

One of my aunties in Poland who lives in a block of flats makes her own sauerkraut in a bucket which stands on her balcony. She is not alone in this.

Street market in Krakow – Sauerkraut and Sausage
Sauerkraut and Sausage
Sauerkraut and Sausage

On a recent trip to Poland I bought a little book on cabbage cookery.  The title, translates as “Falling in Love with Cabbage”; I think most Poles do this at a very early age as cabbage features, fresh or sour, in so many meals.

Falling In Love With Cabbage

Falling In Love With Cabbage

In my next posts I am going to cover some classic Polish recipes for cabbage including bigos and gołąbki (cabbage rolls)- as seen on the book cover.

Bigos

Bigos