Crisp air, colorful leaves and Oktoberfest activities fill the calendar. This time of year calls for the most German of foods: sauerkraut. My family has a secret recipe for making the most divine sauerkraut, and while I am held to secrecy, I can share other sauerkraut recipes and my favorite ways to eat this sour, fermented food. Hint: it's not in a Reuben sandwich.
1. Pigs in a blanket - German style
What family hasn't served pigs in blanket for dinner? I give this classic dish some German flare by swapping hot dogs for cooked sausage and then I add in a spoonful of sauerkraut before wrapping everything in pastry dough. The sauerkraut warms as the dough bakes in the oven, making for a delicious result the whole family will devour.
2. Kicked-up mashed potatoes
Potatoes and sauerkraut go hand in hand, but I skip the boiled dinner dishes. Instead, I mix some kraut with mashed potatoes for extra kick. The creamy potatoes mix well with the sauerkraut; simply fold in a little or a lot, depending on your preference. For extra flavor, mix in shredded cheddar cheese for a gooey potato-sauerkraut side dish that won't last long!
3. Sauerkraut soup
Yes, sauerkraut soup is a thing, and while you can Google plenty of recipes on the Internet, I've found it's just easier to use this ingredient as an enhancement to soup recipes I already love. If you have a tasty sausage soup you adore, take it up a notch by adding some sauerkraut. You'll create a fresh flavor combo that is sure to enhance the other ingredients and make for one of your favorite go-to sauerkraut recipes.
4. German-style pierogi
I love pierogi – dumplings stuffed with a variety of tasty ingredients, boiled and then fried to perfection. Do yourself a favor and gather your family and have a pierogi-making party where everyone helps. Research recipes online and be sure to stuff with sauerkraut, meat and potatoes for lip-smacking results.
5. Sauerkraut smoothie
Yes, you read that right: leftover sauerkraut can be a great addition to your morning smoothie and may be the oddest of the sauerkraut recipes. Fermented foods are trending right now for their numerous health benefits. The trick to making sure your smoothie doesn't have an overpowering taste is to blend it with strong-flavored fruits like pineapple, kiwi or grapefruit. Start with a couple tablespoons and add up to one cup of sauerkraut to taste. Have fun experimenting!