photos and writing by Graham Duncan
Oktoberfest has a reputation for causing some post-celebration un-wellness. But in 2020, hefting steins and singing arm-in-arm has entirely different health implications and Oktoberfest had to be cancelled.
But it’s still October and there’s nothing stopping you from Getting Yer Ja Ja’s Out and celebrating all things Bavarian, at home, distantly, with masks on, with the windows open, if you all get tested, and inject some disinfectant…OH C’MON — CHEER UP! Any excuse to cook up some sausages and sauerkraut is a good one and Sanagan’s has you covered like a massive beer tent.
Kitchener-Waterloo hosts the world’s second largest Oktoberfest, so it’s not surprising that neighbouring St. Jacobs is home to some pretty great sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. St. Jacobs Foods version is naturally fermented using only salt and water and is loaded with healthy probiotics. This simple recipe translates into fresh and snappy flavours and textures.
St. Jacobs sauerkraut is perfect for braising and just demands to adorn grilled sausage on a bun. It’s the dynamics of the sauerkraut’s acidic tang commingling with pork’s luxurious fat. Please see my recipe below for simple and delicious traditional braised sauerkraut.
Ah, but upon what sausage, you may ask, shall the sauerkraut lay? Here’s a trio of tubes that will offer a lot of bun fun and will never sour your ‘kraut. And regardless of what wiener’s your winner, be sure to spread some Sanagan’s mustard on that sausage.
Sikorski Vienna Wieners
Made by the London-based, family-owned deli meat producers, these pork and veal wieners are like deluxe hot dogs. When you bite them, the casing snaps, yielding up the tender meaty goodness within. Grillable, boilable, steamable fryable, irresistible.
Sikorski Debrecyna Sausage
These naturally smoked prepared sausages are customer favourites for evocations of Eastern Europe and offer up a little more heft than their Viennese counterparts when it comes to pairing with sauerkraut. As with the Vienna wieners, when you’re cooking these, all that’s required is to heat them through.
Made in-house with our fresh family-farmed pork and natural casings, these German-style sausages are seasoned with a veritable spice box including coriander, clove, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and marjoram. It all adds up to a balanced classic and, for me, was the best match with the sauerkraut. Like all of our raw house-made sausages, grill these with a gentle heat so as to not split the natural casings.
Serves 4 as a side dish
3 small yellow onions, peeled and sliced
500 gm sauerkraut
1 tart apple, peeled and grated
1tbsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
to taste ground pepper
1 cup chicken stock
As required beer or white wine
- Preheat over to 325°F
- (Optional) rinse the sauerkraut with water and drain, squeezing the water out of the sauerkraut. The more rinses, the milder the taste.
- Melt butter in a large over-proof frying pan. The pan will later require a lid.
- Add onions and fry at medium-low heat until translucent.
- Blend sauerkraut into the onions and and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add caraway, bay leaf and pepper.
- Add the stock and enough wine and/or beer to almost cover the sauerkraut
- Simmer for 1/2 hour on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
- Cover the pan and cook in the oven for another 1/2 hour.
- At this point the sauerkraut should have absorbed almost all the liquid. If there remains an excess of liquid in the pan, this can be quickly cooked off at medium-high heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly.
- Serve the sauerkraut with your favourite sausages! Prost!