Chef John Folse's Sauerkraut River Road Style


Prep Time: 3 Hours
Yields: 8 Servings

Comment: Sauerkraut is one of the most underrated dishes in the South. Most southerners are reminded of the sour, bitter kraut they were served during their elementary school days, rather than the richly-garnished sauerkraut of Alsace Lorraine, France. Olga Hirsch brought this recipe from that region when she moved to Donaldsonville in the 1940s. It is a classic and well worth the effort!

2 (32-ounce) jars Vlassic ® sauerkraut 
1/2 pound bacon, cubed
3 links heavy smoked sausage, sliced
2 cups diced onions 
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1 quart chicken stock
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 cup dry white wine
6 juniper berries
salt and black pepper to taste
1 ham steak, cubed (reserve bone)
3 pieces smoked pork hocks
6 links Polish sausage
2 small bay leaves
8 small potatoes, halved

Method: The secret to great sauerkraut is removing the sour brine from cabbage. Prior to cooking, rinse product under cold running water 2–3 times and drain well. In a cast iron pot, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until fat is rendered. Do not brown. Add smoked sausage and cook 2–3 minutes longer. Add onions and garlic and sauté 3–5 minutes. Stir in flour then add chicken stock, beer, wine and juniper berries. Bring to a rolling boil, then season with salt and pepper. Blend in sauerkraut. Return to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add ham and bone, pork hocks and Polish sausage. Season with bay leaves. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes and continue to cook 15–20 minutes or until tender. Serve sauerkraut with equal portions of meat.