Caramelized Sauerkraut with Prunes, Herbs and Honey

By • January 18, 2013 • 25 Comments


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Author Notes: When I was little, I hated sauerkraut, eating it was absolute punishment. Unfortunately, my family made a lot of it. Slowly simmered on the stove and then briefly baked in the oven. It was wholesome and nutritious during the long winters when fresh fruits and vegetables were not available. And every time I made a face, my dad would tell a story of Admiral Nelson and how he used to carry sauerkraut on his ships to fight scurvy. Then, over the years I warmed up to it. In my mind sauerkraut evokes the flavors of something sweet, to fight its sometimes harsh acidity. It calls for herbs and garlic. A touch of caramel from long baking in the oven. When I feel really indulgent, it calls for bacon. And that is how I arrived at this dish. (I did not include bacon in the recipe below, but it can be a great addition.)QueenSashy

Serves 8-10

  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 3 pounds sauerkraut, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, cut in quarters
  • 16 prunes, cut in half
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large casserole or Dutch oven combine the oil with the onions over medium heat (alternatively you can heat the oil first, but starting the onions in cold oil will give them mellower taste). Simmer the onions for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add the sauerkraut, garlic, prunes, thyme and one cup of wine to the casserole, mix well and simmer for about 10 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the remaining wine, honey and bay leaves and simmer on the stove for another 25 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and sauerkraut acquires deep golden color.
  4. Add a cup of water to the casserole, season with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 45min to an hour, until all the water has evaporated and the top layer is nicely caramelized. (If it becomes dry during baking, feel free to add a bit more water.)
  5. Let the sauerkraut sit in the refrigerator one to two days before serving. (This is absolutely critical, so be patient).
  6. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.

Comments (25) Questions (0)

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4 months ago Rivka

This recipe is just fantastic. I can't tell you how much I love it....or how much of it I ate in one sitting. Thank you!

Moi_1

4 months ago QueenSashy

... and thank you for letting me know!

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4 months ago Rivka

...between friends, try slipping a little leftover gravy into the pot. wow.

Moi_1

4 months ago QueenSashy

i MUST try that ASAP

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4 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so glad you made this and then wrote, Rivka. It reminded me to get started. First batch is in the oven now, and I can't wait. Will be hard to wait a day or two...

Hib_kitchen

6 months ago MyCommunalTable

I love the recipe. I also love that it is made ahead of time. Perfect for entertaining. thanks.

Moi_1

6 months ago QueenSashy

Thank you... It can also be kept for a couple of days, and it really gets better as it "ages"

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7 months ago loubaby

This sounds great...I grew up with sauerkraut, being in a Polish family and my mom used in so many ways, but not like this with prunes and such...I will definitely put in the bacon as you suggest and I will serve it along some sausage---smoked or brats ..as coming from the Midwest, that would be a natural with a bakery good rye bread!...delicious...thanks so much.

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about 1 year ago rbknits

I have about 5 jars of homemade sauerkraut to still use up from the end of last summer's harvest; will definitely be trying this recipe...thanks for sharing! Any ideas of what to serve it with? Potato? Beans?

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

Potatoes definitely. And, one of my favorite ways of serving the dish is with warm or grilled polenta

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Goodness! My mouth is watering just reading the title of this recipe. A brilliant turn West from the more standard sauerkraut + apples. I am definitely giving this one a whirl, most likely this weekend! ;o)

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

Thanks AJ! I look forward to your comments, like it or not, please let me know if it worked out.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

By the way, what kind of wine do you use when making this? Will be shopping tomorrow! ;o) P.S Love the three bay leaves. Totally my kind of dish.

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

To be honest, the dish is very forgiving, and likes most of white wines. Well, maybe not the mineral ones, and definitely not the extremely sweet ones, since with all the prunes and the honey it could be a bit too much. I generally like to drink Alsatian wines, and always have the leftovers handy. Also, it kind of stays true to the spirit of sauerkraut :)

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

But do leave it for a day or so... The flavors come together after a day of rest and the taste will be very different.

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about 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

ooh, this looks delightful. i love sauerkraut! and prunes!

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

Emily, thank you!

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about 1 year ago lapadia

Love your story, I never tasted sauerkraut, growing up, my husband has always loved it, always had it and I must say I finally acquired a taste for it. This sounds like a great recipe to try, I can even picture making a pumpernickel pizza style crust and using this as a topping...maybe with a little leftover corned beef. St. Patrick's is around the corner, I just may try that. Stay tuned.

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

Thank you lapadia, the pizza and corned beef sounds enticing, I would love to try it. Please let me know if the dish worked for you.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 1 year ago lapadia

Will do. I copied the recipe and am hoping to find the time to make this asap!

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

btw, I usually taste the sauerkraut before making the dish, and if it is way on the sour side, I give it an extra rinse or two to get rid of the excessive acidity.

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about 1 year ago lapadia

Thanks for the tip :)

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow, didn't know that rinsing could help with the acidity. The things we learn here! (I've adored sauerkraut, especially when cooked forever in a slow oven, my whole life. I am so looking forward to this.) ;o)

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 1 year ago lapadia

Hi QS! Well I finally made your recipe, served to the side of the family (husband's) that grew up eating kraut. They LOVED it, we all loved it. I will def. make it again. Thanks for sharing it :)!

Moi_1

about 1 year ago QueenSashy

Oh, I am so glad you liked it! Thanks a lot for letting me know.