Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Best ever sauerkraut

At the Taste of the Huon on Monday, I ate a delicious pork sausage on a bun, that was badly let down by the sauerkraut accompanying it. Now, I LOVE sauerkraut, but this was clearly fresh from the tin, and hardly warmed. So I decided to share my recipe for the BEST EVER sauerkraut. Well, in my opinion. It will be like potato salad - every German will have a better one. When I say sauerkraut, I'm not talking about making it from scratch by fermenting the cabbage, though I am keen to try that. The stuff in a tin, a packet or a jar is fine, home made better of course, but it's how you cook it that makes the difference.

It's not my recipe, just an adaptation. Many years ago, I visited Bavarian Smallgoods and Butcher, a small shop on a suburban street in Ermington in western Sydney. This place smelt incredible - mainly of smoked ham - like walking into a little piece of Bavaria. Unfortunately it has closed now. That day, David and I were shopping in preparation for our annual Oktoberfest that we host at home, so I bought many kilos of the fantastic sausages, some cold meats, mustard and several large jars of sauerkraut. As I handed over my money, owner Ricky pointed at the jars of sauerkraut and asked me, 'how are you planning to cook this?'. I told him I normally added a cup of white wine and simmered it for a while. No, no, no. All wrong. Here's what you need to do to guarantee the tastiest sauerkraut.

You'll need:
  • Speck (smoked bacon - ideally both a fatty and a leaner piece), finely diced
  • Small brown onion, finely sliced
  • Cans or jars of sauerkraut
  • Some riesling
  • Caraway seeds
  • Two cooking apples such as Granny Smiths, peeled and grated

First, fry some fatty speck in a large saucepan. Add the sliced onion. Once the pan is glazed with fat and onion is browned, add about a third of the sauerkraut and heat through. Add the grated apple, a few teaspoons of whole caraway seeds (a German friend of mine swears they are fart-retardant!) and another third of the sauerkraut. Stir and heat through. Add a cup or two of riesling, the remaining sauerkraut, the non-fatty speck and stir. Put the lid on and simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. Fertig!


  1. Hallo Susan,
    Ich habe Dich zwar längere Zeit keine Zuschrift mehr geschickt, blieb jedoch eine treue Leserin Deiner Seite. Nun aber zum Thema Sauerkraut.
    Ich bin der Meinung daß man den „best ever“ Sauerkraut eher außerhalb Deutschland und zwar in Elsas und Lothringen trifft. Hier ein Stimmungsbild dessen: ALSACE FOR EVER
    Liebe Frühlingsgrüße aus Flandern,

  2. Hi Sue, you may want to add some juniper berries and some bay leaves for an even more authentic German taste. Cheers, Anja

    1. oh good idea Anja - I have loads of bay leaves that I got at the Huon Expo! Will try that next time.

  3. Hi Sue, you may want to add some juniper berries and some bay leaves for the authentic German taste. Cheers, Anja

  4. Hi Susan,

    I am planning to use Grey Mountain as a backdrop for a novel I am thinking of writing. I would appreciate it if you could give me some insight into this area. Can you drive there from Huonville, are there any farmers living working around the mountain, or living on the mountain itself? Can you see across to Bruny Island, and thus see the sea from the side of the mountain [what kind of elevation]; also what kind of fauna and flora common in the area. Running water, rainfall, accessibility. Time driving from Huonville if you can, dirt roads, driving conditions - particularly in winter [snowed in?] In fact anything you can think of that will give me an idea of the place. Kind regards, Philip [I am a an alien northerner from West Moonah - Smiling].

    1. Hi Philip, you could drive there in a 4WD from Huonville, via Cradoc... except that the last kilometre or so is blocked by a yellow gate, as it is a communications access road to two mobile phone towers on top. On that last section you get nice views out to Bruny Island - see my post here: http://huonview.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/grey-mountain.html The area around it is bush - part plantation forestry criss-crossed with 4WD roads. There are farms and Cradoc Abbatoir back down the hill towards the Huon River. The mountain is often shrouded in cloud in winter. It occasionally gets snow on top. Very windy up there too. We saw lots of wildflowers in December towards the top including waratahs and one of those carnivorous plants with the tiny flowers... sorry I don't know the name!

    2. You can also drive there from the Margate side, via Van Moreys Road. Also 4WD only. It was a bit rough last time I went.

    3. Thanks, your comments are much appreciated.