Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Casserole

I squeezed a really delicious casserole into our dinner menu just before the weather got too nice to think of anything but salads and grilled foods. Actually, I made this recipe twice because I wasn’t quite happy with the way the potatoes turned out the first time around.

Okay, I’ll back up just a second. You see, if this casserole, which is mostly stuffed with sauerkraut and turkey kielbasa, is really a potpie, then thinly-sliced potatoes are its crust. They are shingled in overlapping layers over the top of everything. In the original recipe, they were Yukon gold potatoes and they were supposed to get brown and crispy. I found that, while the potatoes did brown nicely, they didn’t really cook through. A lot of their crunchiness was due to their un-cooked-ed-ness.

And so when I tried this again I covered the dish for the first 45 minutes of cooking and the potatoes did cook. Well, I pulled one of my usual unscientific tricks of changing two variables at once and not only covered the dish the second time around, but also used a different variety of potato. I swapped in russet potatoes for the Yukon golds.

I’m confident in recommending either potato, however, and I’m also confident in recommending covering the baking dish to get the potatoes nicely cooked. Whatever you do with the potatoes, though, the best thing about this casserole is the classic combination of sausage and sauerkraut. There’s also plenty of onion and an apple in the mix, along with flavor boosts from caraway and fennel seeds, spicy brown mustard, white wine, and cider vinegar. 

While casserole season may be at an end, this dish is still a delicious crowd-pleaser no matter the weather. It’s a new take on old-school flavors. And satisfying like old-school comfort food.

Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Casserole
Adapted from Eating Well magazine, Sept/Oct 2012

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
1 teaspoon caraway seed
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 large apple, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
13 ounces turkey kielbasa, sliced ½ inch thick
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 ½ cups sauerkraut, drained well
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1-1 ½ pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes (peeled if desired)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray or grease it with oil or butter.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

3. Lightly crush the caraway and fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or a knife. Add them to the onion. Add the apple and wine. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the kielbasa, cider vinegar, sauerkraut, mustard and black pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

5. Thinly slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, butter and salt. Toss the potatoes to coat well. Arrange the potato slices, tightly overlapping them, over the sauerkraut mixture.

6. Cover and bake at 400 F for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking 15 minutes more or until the potatoes are very tender and getting brown. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

Another recipe like this one: Potato and Sauerkraut Cakes

One year ago: Wheat Sandwich Bread

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