This recipe came from a cookbook called The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast. I'll be the first to admit, it's not the most appetizing premise for a cookbook, but let's be real, sometimes we all need a little help now and then. I'll gladly take advice from a book with such a witty title. And even if you are so lucky not to have, ahem, issues in that department, I think you will agree that this is a meal that everyone can enjoy.
Sauerkraut with Apples and Sausage
adapted from The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast
Notes: Instead of bratwurst, we used chicken apple sausages.
4 bratwursts (precooked), whole or chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound sauerkraut, drained
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet (we used cast iron), cook the bacon until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
At this point, the recipe suggests you just toss the excess bacon fat. I say, keep it, you fools! Leftover bacon fat is great to use instead of butter for pan-frying potatoes, caramelizing onions, sauteing veggies, and making any kind of beans (such as refried). We strain it through a paper towel into a jar and store it in the fridge where it will keep for weeks (months too, probably?).
Spoon one tablespoon of the bacon fat plus a tablespoon of butter into another large skillet, and leave the remaining tablespoon in the original skillet. In the new skillet, saute the onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, saute 1 minute. Add the broth, apples, sugar, bay leaf, and wine. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so over low heat. Add the bacon and continue cooking for another 10 minutes while you do the next step.
In the original skillet, where you left that tablespoon of bacon fat, saute the sausage for about 10 minutes, until it's browned in spots.
At this point, you can either add the sausage to the sauerkraut mixture and cook the whole thing for another 10 minutes, then serve in a bowl, or you can let the sauerkraut mixture cook for another 10 minutes by itself while keeping the sausage warm, and pour the mixture over the sausage to serve. It's up to you, just don't forget to remove the bay leaf.