Photo by Judith Hausman
As I promised, here’s the news on my first attempt at sauerkraut. So many of you weighed in with helpful feedback and enthusiasm. Well, I’m here to tell you, I succeeded. After taste-testing from the four jars that I had settled into a cool corner of my living room for about three weeks, I knew they had all fermented well. I froze one batch and debated canning the other with the hot-water-bath method. In the end, I instead decided to live with the room the other two jars temporarily take up in the fridge.
I’ll use up a lot with a celebratory Alsatian choucroute for my family. The rinsed sauerkraut will be simmered in Riesling and then topped with thin-cut pork chops, sausages and thick bacon — all local, of course. I’ll then add sautéed onions and apples.
On the other hand, I recently saw a seafood choucroute recipe that looked mighty tempting and a lot lighter.
Until I decide, my sauerkraut is making the best sandwiches! Here’s a basic Reuben sandwich recipe, which you can easily vary.
Recipe: Reuben Sandwich
- Rye bread, preferably seeded
- Russian dressing
- About 1/4 cup sauerkraut per sandwich, drained
- 2 ounces or more lean, sliced pastrami per sandwich
- About 1 ounce good-quality Gruyère, Emmentaler or Jarlsberg cheese per sandwich, sliced
Lightly toast the rye bread.
To make Russian dressing, mix equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise. (Some people like to put some relish in it, too). Spread this generously on the toast. Drain the sauerkraut well and heap it on one slice of toast. Lay the meat and cheese on the other slice of bread.
The sandwich can then be closed and warmed in a toaster oven until the cheese melts or carefully placed in a sauté pan with a half-tablespoon of hot, melted butter. Brown and turn over.
Try horseradish sauce instead of Russian dressing on the toast.
Use cooked roast beef or leftover turkey, or omit the meat for a vegetarian version.
Use jalapeño jack cheese or sharp cheddar.
Add a layer of thinly sliced apple to the sandwich.
Use cole slaw rather than sauerkraut.