CuisineMentor

We bring the world of taste to your kitchen.

Recipes for Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Blend

CuisineMentor's Spice Blend for Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut is a hand blended balance of parsley, thyme, bay leaves, allspice, garlic, black pepper, and juniper berries. It is packaged in a muslin bag that is used during cooking and removed before serving. CuisineMentor Gourmet Spice Blends are all natural, and gluten-free. There are no artificial colorings, additives, preservatives, or MSG. This is a salt free blend.

Use this blend in place of bouquet garni in beef or pork dishes. This blend is excellent in bean soups made with ham bones or ham hocks, add to start of cooking the broth. Also use in hearty stews, add at the beginning of stewing. For maximum flavor, crush whole berries in muslin bag before use by hitting bag several times with a kitchen hammer/mallet. Remove used bag of spices before serving.



Pictured is the delectable Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut with
boiled potatoes as prepared according to the signature recipe
on the CuisineMentor Spice Blend packet.
          German Braised Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage

1 medium head of red cabbage, quartered

4 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, halved and finely sliced
2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Gourmet Spice Blend

¼ cup vinegar
    salt, pepper

Wash cabbage. Cut away core and slice very finely. There should be about 9 cuts shredded cabbage.
With a kitchen mallet or heavy pot, hit the CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Spice Blend muslin packet several times to crack whole spices.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy stainless steel or enameled 4 to 5 quart casserole, heat butter. Cook onions until they are limp, but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add cabbage, apples, sugar, salt, a muslin bag of spices and vinegar. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and place in the center of the oven to braise for 2 hours. Check several times, if too dry add a little water.

The taste will improve if cooled and allowed to rest for a day in the refrigerator. Reheat either on top of stove or in a 325 degree oven. Remove muslin bag of spices before serving.

Serve hot as a festive accompaniment to roast pork, duck, or goose. Also delicious served with meat loaf, ham or sausages.                     
Serves 6.

Variations: Add ½ pound large diced bacon strips cooked crisp to casserole with cabbage and      
                   other ingredients before braising. Braise as per recipe.
                   For added sweetness, add ¼ cup red current jelly about 10 minutes before the
                   cabbage is finished.
                   Add ¼ cup raisins before braising.
*************************************************************************************************************************

     

My husband and I fondly call this delicious cabbage soup just plain “Julia’s.” A Lithuanian restaurant on the South Side of Chicago, Julia’s served the best fresh cabbage soup and as college students we frequented Julia’s to enjoy it.  Here is my version of this nostalgic favorite.
                 Julia’s Cabbage  Soup

1 package CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Gourmet Spice Blend 

1 to 2 lbs. pork ribs with bone

2 large carrots, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

about 8 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium head of cabbage, quartered. cored and shredded 1/2 inch thick

4 tomatoes (or 28-ounce can tomatoes), chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup (preferably low sodium)

2 tablespoons vinegar, or to taste

   salt, pepper

 

With a kitchen mallet or heavy pot, hit the CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Spice Blend muslin packet several times to crack whole spices. In a large pot, place meat, carrots, onion, water, salt and the muslin spice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2-3 hours, until the meat readily falls off the bones.

Add cabbage and cook until very tender, about 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 15 minutes longer.

Pick out the bones, leaving the meat in chucks. Remove spice bag.  Stir in the cream of mushroom soup and vinegar. Adjust salt and pepper.

Serve with boiled potatoes on the side. 6 generous servings

 

Chicken broth variation: Substitute chicken broth for water and pork, eliminate salt. Add carrots, onion, 
             Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage and cook until very tender (about 30          
             minutes.) Add tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and stir in cream of
             mushroom soup. Add vinegar to taste. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve with boiled potatoes on the
             side.

 

Vegetarian variation: Omit meat and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. Continue as per Chicken broth recipe above.  

 
*************************************************************************************************************************


Virtually all Eastern European countries have their own version of sauerkraut soup. In Lithuanian cuisine this soup is a traditional staple. When I was a child growing up in Chicago, my mother made it often but I disliked it. However, times and tastes change and especially during the cold months I crave this old world soup with a side plate of steaming boiled potatoes.

I am not an advocate of canned soups, but I have found that addition of cream of mushroom soup brings richness and heartiness to many homemade soups including sauerkraut soup.       
Dried mushrooms add flavorful savory morsels to the soup. While I prefer porcini mushrooms, any dried mushroom works very well, such as shiitake, oyster, portabella, etc.

 

          
Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup

optional: 1/2 cup dried mushrooms (porcini preferred, but any dried mushroom will work)

2 lbs. sauerkraut; drained, rinsed and liquid squeezed out

1 to 2 lbs. pork ribs (country style) with bone

about 8 cups water

28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped

1 large carrot, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 package CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Gourmet Spice Blend

1 can cream of  mushroom soup (preferably low salt)
salt, pepper

 

If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute in 1 cup hot water for 30 minutes.  Drain, reserving the mushroom soaking liquid.  Coarsely chop mushrooms.

Combine all ingredients (except cream of mushroom soup) in a large pot, adding in the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. With a kitchen mallet or heavy pot hit the CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Spice Blend muslin packet several times to crack whole spices. Tuck the muslin spice bag into the soup mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 to 3 hours, until the meat readily falls off the bones. 

Pick out the bones, leaving the meat in chunks, and remove spice bag. Stir in the cream of mushroom soup, adjust salt and pepper.

Serve with boiled or fried potatoes on the side. 6 generous servings.

 

Variations:

Substitute smoked pork for pork ribs. Continue as per recipe.

Substitute chicken broth for water and pork. Continue as per recipe.

For a delicious vegetarian version, eliminate pork and use vegetable broth instead of water, Continue as per recipe.

*****************************************************************************************************************************

          Sauerbraten
(German Marinated Pot Roast in Sweet-and Sour Sauce)

 
How you cook this dish is relatively minor in importance. It’s how you marinate it that counts. In northern Germany the beef is soaked in buttermilk. In Bavaria, they use beer. This recipe is a Rhineland marinade- wine, vinegar, carrots and onions. The result is a culinary conundrum – both smooth and sharp. There is nothing tricky about cooking a good Sauerbraten. But there are no shortcuts -  three days of soaking the meat.

Traditionally Sauerbraten is served with boiled potatoes and red cabbage. I prefer a simple green vegetable with Sauerbraten since red cabbage and Sauerbraten are both tangy. For festive occasions, Sauerbraten is served with German potato dumplings or potato pancakes.

 

1 packet CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Spice Blend

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup red wine vinegar

2 cups cold water

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly

3 carrots, scrubbed and cut in large chunks

 

4 pounds boneless beef rump roast, trimmed of fat (see Notes)

3 Tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped carrots

½ cup finely chopped onions

½ cup finely chopped celery

2 Tablespoon flour

½ cup gingersnap crumbs (crush finely Gingersnap cookies)

 

Make Marinade:

With a kitchen mallet or heavy pot hit the CuisineMentor Bavarian Braised Sauerkraut Spice Blend packet several times to crack whole spices. Place muslin spice packet in a 2-3 quart saucepan stir in wine, vinegar, water, sliced onion and carrots.  Bring this marinade to a boil over high heat, lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

 Place the beef into a deep crock or stainless steel or enameled pot just big enough to hold it comfortably and pour the cooled marinade over it. The marinade should come at least halfway up the sides of the meat, if necessary add more wine. Turn the meat to moisten on all sides. Then cover the pan tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 3 days, turning the meat over at least twice a day.

 

To Cook:

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the spice packet, sliced onions and carrots, reserve the marinade.

In a heavy 5 quart pot, heat oil over high heat. Add the meat and brown it on all sides, turning frequently and regulating the heat so that it browns deeply and evenly without burning. This will take about 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a platter, and pour off and discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the chopped carrots, onions and celery to the fat in the pot and cook them over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes until they are soft and light brown. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly for 2 or 3 minutes longer, or until the flour begins to color. Pour in 3 cups of the reserved marinade and bring to boil over high heat. Return meat to the casserole. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer the meat to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.

The Sauce:

Pour the liquid left from the cooking pot into a large measuring cup and skim off the fat. You need about 3-4 cups of liquid with the cooked vegetables. Pour back into pot. Stir in gingersnap crumbs. Using a whisk, cook and stir 10 minutes until gravy is smooth and thickened. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed. Strain sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down with a wooden spoon to force as much vegetables and crumbs through as possible (see note below for using a food processor). Return the sauce to cooking pot and keep warm until ready to serve.

 

To serve, remove string or netting, slice meat about ¼ inch thick, arrange overlapping slices on platter and coat with some gravy. Pass the remaining gravy in a sauceboat.

Serves 6 - 8

 

Notes:

If using a cut of meat that has string or netting, leave in place until ready to slice.

For sauce, you can also use a food processor to puree the cooked vegetables rather than forcing through a sieve. The sauce will be a bit textured.

Variations:

If you prefer, you may cook the Sauerbraten in the oven, Bring to boil ob high, cover tightly and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 2 hours.

I also like using a beef chuck roast for making Sauerbraten. This is not traditional, but I find the cut to be moister.

Add ½ cup raisins to finished gravy, reheat.

Sauerbraten can also be made using pork, venison, or other game.