Hey, whatever prolongs the outdoor beer drinking and oompah music is just fine with us.
Do we have great neighbors or what?!
J and I weren’t properly dressed for the neighborhood Oktoberfest party (buckskin isn’t our thing, obviously), but we did bring a sauerkraut casserole and plenty of Paulaner and Spaten to the party. All was forgiven.
The sauerkraut casserole is a vegan take on my grandfather’s favorite casserole side dish (he was born in Deutschland). We never make it the same way twice, it seems. Sometimes we use Smart Bacon; sometimes we use Tofurky beer brats (preferred). If we want to make it a meal, we add a layer of shredded potatoes at the bottom of the casserole.
As far as I know, only the party hosts knew that J and I are vegan. Although there were a half-dozen casserole dishes lined up on the food table with every variation of sauerkraut one could imagine, ours was the only empty dish at the end of the evening. Another vegan success!
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2 pounds red potatoes (optional), shredded and drained in a colander and squeezed dry
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and diced
1 750-ML bottle of white wine
1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 juniper berries
2 Tablespoons oil
1 red onion, diced
4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour whisked with enough water (or leftover wine) to make a thin paste
If making a potato layer, place the shredded potatoes on a baking sheet liberally sprayed with oil. Broil for about 20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Flip the potatoes (it’s easier to divide the potatoes into sections before flipping) and return the baking sheet to the oven. Broil an extra 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, then place the potatoes in the bottom of a 2.5 quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Lower the oven temperature to 375F.
Meanwhile, drain the sauerkraut in a colander and then place it in a large saucepan with the diced apple. Add the wine, covering the kraut and the apple, and cook over medium heat until the sauerkraut is soft and the liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the caraway seeds, black pepper and juniper berries.
While the kraut is cooking, heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sausage/bacon and sauté until the onions are golden brown.
Add the onion/sausage mixture to the cooked sauerkraut. Add the flour paste mixture to the sauerkraut mixture and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and place in the oven. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, until a lovely golden brown.
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