The underdog of the dinner table. This amazing smoked sauerkraut side dish is loaded with the flavors of fall: caramelized onions, roasted apples, smoked salt, and potatoes.
What is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is a fermented food made most basically with cabbage and salt. It uses a type of fermentation called Lacto Fermentation, which is when good bacteria breaks down the sugar in food into lactic acid. Contrary to a common misconception, there is no milk in lacto fermentation. This can be confusing because the word Lacto (in lacto-fermentation/vegan) sounds very similar to Lactose (a sugar found in cow's milk/not-vegan), but they are very different things.
Cooking with Sauerkraut
There's more to sauerkraut than hot dogs and reuben sandwiches. Cooking with sauerkraut goes back centuries. If you want a good read, I love this story from the New York Times about the Chinese origins of sauerkraut.
It is an unsuspecting way to add sharpness to a recipe, much in the way you would add capers or pickles to a dish. The more you cook sauerkraut, the more mellow the flavor. However, although still delicious, once sauerkraut is taken above 115f, it will lose all of its good-gut health benefits. Because of this, I try to add the sauerkraut at the very end of the process, where it can just be warmed and not actually cooked.
This recipe uses my favorite combination of fall flavors. Cooked in a hot skillet, the onions and apples caramelize and help sear the potatoes to a golden brown. A touch of smoked salt to finish. It's a wonderful medley of sweet and earthy and immediately captures the magic of autumn. I add the sauerkraut at the very end after the heat has been turned off. It keeps its crisp texture and sharp taste this way, but is mellowed by the sweetness of the apples.
There's Only One Kind Of Smoked Salt I Use
Maldon Sea Salt is my absolute favorite finishing salt. Aside from their usual salt, they make this smoked version. The salt is cold smoked over oak and has an extremely subtle and natural flavor. There are other smoked salts out there, but this one is my must-have.
You can make this recipe without the smoked salt, but adding it will transform the dish. The subtle flavor of the smoke gives the essence of cooking over a wood fire. What better a sensation for a fall dish? Try it with these Korean BBQ Meatballs.
Don't Forget: Make Your Sauerkraut Ahead of Time
Don't forget that the fermentation process of homemade sauerkraut takes a minimum of 4 days. You'll want to make this FANTASTIC RECIPE HERE at least the week before you attempt this recipe. Sure, you can buy sauerkraut in the store, but if you have the time, there is nothing like the flavor of your own homemade batch.
Amazing Smoked Sauerkraut with Roasted Apples and Potatoes
- Leave the skin on and cut the apple off the core, then cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Cut the pre-cooked potatoes in quarters and slice the onion into thin strips.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and let it heat up for 1-2 minutes before starting.
- Put the oil in the pan and then the onion. Cook for approximately one minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add the apples and the potato and stir well into the onion.
- Continue to cook this mixture for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until all of the ingredients start to brown.
- Sprinkle the smoked salt and stir in. Continue to cook another minute.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the sauerkraut. Immediately transfer into a serving dish or a container for storage.