Make Ahead

Agny Danielsen's Surkal

April 17, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

A traditional Norwegian sauerkraut, surkal is made with little more than cabbage, vinegar, and butter. Caraway and apple give it an added boost of flavor. This recipe, adapted from Daytona Strong's grandmother -- which Daytona discovered her grandmother had published in an old church cookbook -- is hearty and satisfying, perfect for a cold, rainy evening. Shared on Outside Oslo and The Outside Oslo Eye in its metric units, this version contains ounces and cups. —Daytona Strong

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Daytona Strong is a Norwegian-American cook from Seattle.
WHAT: A barebones sauerkraut that will taste like anything but.
HOW: You've got this -- just shred, simmer, and let the cabbage slouch into itself for 90 minutes.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Time is the key to this dish -- in 90 minutes of simmering, the cabbage softens, as does its vinegary bite, and the apple and the caraway thrum away in the background. We know we're supposed to serve this with something else, but we couldn't stop eating bowls of it all by its lonesome. —The Editors

  • Serves 6
  • 26 ounces cabbage
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 1/2 ounces butter
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon caraway
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Curly parsley, chopped, for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Shred the cabbage using the slicing disc of a food processor, then switch to the shredding disk to shred the apple (it's okay to leave the skin on).
  2. Melt butter in a large, heavy pot, then add remaining ingredients (except parsley) and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 90 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and has darkened and the vinegar has reduced and softened in flavor. You may need to increase the heat near the end to finish reducing the vinegar.
  3. Remove from the heat and, as Grandma Agny indicated, "Serve in a nice-looking dish; garnish with apple wedges and parsley."

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