Sausage and Sauerkraut

3 Jan


To start off the New Year, I’ll be posting only Whole30-compliant recipes this month. What is the Whole30 Program? It’s very similar to what I eat already, but with a few more restrictions: no dairy (except ghee), no white potatoes, no rice, no alcohol, no sugars or sweeteners of any kind. It’s a great way to jump headfirst into an ancestral diet (although easing into a Paleo diet is just fine, too) and see some dramatic changes in your health.

For my first January recipe I wanted to share one of my go-to comfort foods: sausage and sauerkraut. It can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes and always hits the spot! Sauerkraut is a superfood thanks to its healthy bacteria; Genghis Kahn took it with him as he conquered Eurasia, and Germans brought it with them on ships as they traveled to America, in order to fight off disease. Admittedly, many of its healthy bacteria are destroyed in the cooking process of this dish, but don’t let it deter you from chowing down on this tasty recipe! When shopping for sauerkraut, be sure to buy some that only has water, salt and cabbage as its ingredients. You can always make it yourself, too; it’s one of the easiest pickling endeavors you could undertake.

4 Polish or kielbasa sausage (beef or pork)
2 tbsp butter or ghee
1 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
2 cups sauerkraut
1/2 cup sauerkraut liquid
1 granny smith apple

There are plenty of options for clean, uncured sausages out there. In particular, US Wellness Meats Polish Kielbasa Beef Sausages, which I used in this recipe, were excellent. We’re also fans of the Applegate Farms Pork Kielbasa Sausage for this dish. Both are sugar-free.

While many sausages can be cooked from a frozen state, I chose to thaw our beef sausage so that its cooking time coincides perfectly with the sauerkraut. Traditionally, the sausages are simmered with the sauerkraut, but I found that grilling them added a new texture and some diversity to the dish.

In a large skillet on med/low heat, warm the butter/ghee/oil for a couple minutes. Add the sliced onion and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.

Add the sauerkraut, pepper, caraway seeds, and sauerkraut juice, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

As the sauerkraut simmers, grill your sausages using indirect heat (turn off half the burners and put the sausages on the cool side of the grill) for 20 minutes, turning the sausages halfway through cooking. Medium heat (350-400) is ideal. You’ll know the sausages are ready when they look delicious. In all seriousness though, the best way to tell that sausages cooked from a raw (not frozen) state is how they look!

While the sauerkraut simmers and the sausage is cooking, you might think it’s time for a break, but it isn’t; there’s still work to be done. Cut up your apple and set it aside. Now you can take a break.

Once the sausages are done cooking, let them rest for five minutes.

As the sausages are resting, add the apple to the sauerkraut, raise the heat to med/low, and simmer for an additional three minutes, until the apples are softened (but before they start falling apart).

And that’s it! Plate your sausages with a heaping portion of sauerkraut and go to town.

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24 Responses to “Sausage and Sauerkraut”

  1. Man, I love kielbasa. The Applegate Farms package doesn’t last in our house over 3 days–the casing just has that awesome bite that I love.

  2. paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Yum … simple and classic goodness.

  3. KristinJ January 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    The Polish girl in me rejoices! I’d add some sauteed, diced mushrooms to that, too.

  4. Kristen@Change of Pace January 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    I made this the other day in the slow cooker. I really should have added apples. What a great idea!

  5. girlmeetspaleo January 3, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    This would make a great soup!!! sounds a lot like one of my favorites- Reuben soup!

  6. slimpalate January 4, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Ah this touches the German side of me. Love love love the recipe! Totally classic German dish. There was this place down in NY that I went to that had organic sausage and I ordered they organic grass fed veal and pasture raised pork sausage with sauerkraut. It was amazing. Flashback city. Anyway thanks for the great recipe as usual.

  7. Faith A McNeill January 5, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    What do the apples bring to the dish?

    • Russ Crandall (thedomesticman.com) January 5, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      Faith, apples are a traditional way of sweetening this dish to minimize some of the harsh acidity of the sauerkraut – it makes for a more balanced taste. When traveling through Bavaria I noticed that most people sweetened cooked sauerkraut with either sugar or apples.

  8. Sabine January 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    This is a great idea, i am “stuck” with 3 packages of sauerkraut, and was ready to give them up. Will make this soon!

  9. justagirlfromaamchimumbai January 6, 2013 at 2:30 am #

    I have never tried sauerkraut before and looking at your recipe I am so tempted to try it. I guess I need to go to the Freemantle markets they have a stall there that serves sauerkraut I think or just make it. This is gorgeous.

  10. 76sanfermo January 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Thanks for reminding me this healthy,delicious,easy dish!
    You’re great ,dear Russ!

  11. Domma January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Made this for supper tonight. It was wonderful. I’ll be making this again.

  12. Sarah in CA February 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    I just stumbled onto your web site. Didn’t really understand the Whole 30 diet. It turns out that this is the way I naturally eat and have been for years. this is the way my great grandparent ate on the farm. I am sure eating “paleo” helped as I became a type 1. diabetic. I look forward to learning from your experience and your recipes.

  13. Rachel Baines March 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    I just made my first batch ever of homemade sauerkraut and am anxious to try it with this recipe! Thanks!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Well of Health » Whole30 Weekly Wrap-Up #1 - March 7, 2013

    [...] Sausage and Sauerkraut; tea with coconut milk [...]

  2. Whole Fam-damn-ily Whole 30 | Real Food Revelry - January 1, 2014

    […] sausage and sauerkraut (add a fried egg and a handful of spinach – […]

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