Sauerkraut is readily available these days in the ethnic section of the supermarket or from Polish delis. It comes in either a soft pack or in a jar but both will need cooking the same way. Go for original Polish sauerkraut rather than something made for the British market. It’s best made the day before and reheated when you’re ready.
- Fry some bacon (panchetta style cubes, ideally fatty and smoked) in the saucepan.
- Put in the sauerkraut from the packet or jar including any liquid.
- Add some white wine (or water) – not too much, just enough to stop it sticking. Use more if it’s particularly salty.
- Add: bay leaf, peppercorns and juniper berries
- Cook on a very low heat for 45 min to an hour (or more – even three or four hours). Keep an eye on it and add more liquid if it’s getting dry.
- Finely grate a raw potato into it – this is not optional! Medium sized potato for 500g of sauerkraut.
- Cook for another 15-20 minutes. It’s done when it’s got a creamy texture and you can’t taste the potato.
- Sweeten with honey, maple syrup or sugar to taste. (It should be on the sour side of sweet and sour – if it’s on the sweet side that’s Bavarian style which is right out.)
Cooked like this it goes well with fatty meats, sausages and pasta (with tomato sauce).
You can also eat sauerkraut ‘raw’ in salads but don’t have too much at first if your digestion isn’t acclimatised to it: it can move through quite fast!