Slow Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut

Sausage and Sauerkraut

The Oktoberfest theme continues! We often have a houseful of weekend visitors during Oktoberfest.  The key to relaxed entertaining when you have multiple cottage or house guests is organization and smart selection.

You can put these ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or more since it is very forgiving!) and have self-serve as guests filter in at different times of the day or evening.  You can keep the Warm Potato Salad on warm setting in a slow cooker for a number of hours as well. And voila!  You have a casual meal that tastes great no matter what time your crowd comes in.  Or – you can keep a supply of sausage buns beside and serve Sausage and Sauerkraut on a bun with German mustard.

In my English Canadian childhood home my mom used to heat sauerkraut up on the stove in its brine and then serve it.  Yikes!  What we didn’t know then!

Then I met my husband!   His mother was an amazing cook.  I came to realize that after many years most of my holiday go-to recipes are German!  (Wait for the German Torte recipes to come!)

She never made her sauerkraut from scratch although many local Mennonite families do and sell it at the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market.  That can be delicious but I have no quarrel with regular store-bought sauerkraut from a jar or a can!

There are all kinds of sauerkraut variations too..

The base sauerkraut is the drained sauerkraut,  a couple of Tbsps of fat (bacon, pork, veg oil), about a 1/2 cup of liquid, black pepper. Never add salt to sauerkraut-there is enough residual salt from the brine.

  1. You can brown a boneless pork shoulder or butt roast with a diced onion and some oil and black pepper and then smother it with a couple of jars of  drained sauerkraut, 1/2 -2/3 cup of liquid (white wine, beer, apple juice, broth)  and let it simmer for an hour or two on your stove top.  You should be able to shred the roast with 2 forks when you are done and mix it evenly through the sauerkraut.  This approach lends a ton of flavour and makes the sauerkraut a substantial dish on its own.

or

2. You can add a couple of chopped, peeled apples to make a sweet sauerkraut.

3. You can add a teaspoon of caraways seeds to make it Bavarian style.

or

4. Cook it with sausages and add some  boiled potatoes to make a full meal.

There may be as many sauerkraut variations as there are German cooks!  But I love them all now!

Sauerkraut is good for you! It is low in calories and they say fermented foods are good for your digestive system.

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Slow Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 7 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 28 oz jars sauerkraut (I use Bic's Wine Sauerkraut)
  • 2 Tbsps bacon fat or veg oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water (or white wine or apple juice) You can also use beer if not using wine sauerkraut.
  • 12 german style sausauges (Oktoberfest, Knockwurst, Bratwurst, Farmer Sausage or a mix)

Instructions

  • Put fat in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add sauerkraut and stir in other ingredients except sausage. Place sausage on top, cover and let cook.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer sauerkraut to a platter. Transfer sausage as well.
  • Alternatively you can fill a sausage roll with a bed or sauerkraut, top with a sausage and German mustard.
    Sausage on a Bun

Notes

You can serve this with German Potato Salad, or on a big sausage bun or on a platter with boiled potatoes.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie with Cider Ice Cream

This is another of my favourite recipes.  I just got fresh, fresh, Ontario apples at our market and they were outstanding in this pie.  I heard on a radio program once that most of the apples we can buy in our supermarkets are at least four months old by the time they hit the shelf.  I know apples keep if properly stored but it sure makes a difference if you can source some fresh apples in season from an orchard or market near you.

This pie uses my Easy Pie Crust recipe and the filling is generous.  I was afraid that my top crust was going to be too thin by the time I got it big enough to cover the mound of filling but it forced me to roll it out thinly and it was wonderful.

I like this recipe because it cooks long and at a bit lower heat.  Often pie recipes start the first 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then reduce to 350 or 375 degrees. I find my crust is always too brown when I do this.  With the even temperature on this bake time my crust was a light golden brown.

You will want to bake this with a pan underneath to catch any juices.  There is so much filling in this pie you will definitely need it.

I served it with Apple Cider Ice Cream for a double apple hit!

Apple Pie with Cider Ice Cream

Apple Pie

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 1 9" pie

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 Easy Pie Crust https://thewineloverskitchen.com/recipe/easy-pie-crust/

Filling

  • 8 cups apples cored, peeled, sliced (Cortland are good)
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsps butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel, core, chop apples. Cover apple chunks in water with a squirt of lemon juice so they don't turn brown while you prepare them all.
  • Drain apple pieces and mix with all Filling ingredients.
  • Roll out bottom pie crust, transfer bottom crust to 8" pie pan and pour in the filling. Top with upper crust. Make slits for steam to escape and bake. Bake with a pan underneath to catch the drips.
  • Serve warm.

Apple Cider Ice Cream

Apple Cider Ice Cream

This is a great ice cream flavour for fall! It goes well with apple pie, cobblers or crisps. This uses heavy cream and egg yolks so it is quite rich.  You only need a small amount to satisfy!

Apple Cider Ice Cream

Apple Cider Ice Cream

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 5 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider ( I use hard cider but you could use regular)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups 35% cream
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 egg yolks lightly whisked

Instructions

  • Combine apple cider, sugar and cinnamon stick in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until it is reduced to 2/3 cup. This may take 25 minutes or more.
  • Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Stir in milk and then cream. Mix well. Then add the cinnamon and egg yolks. Whisk until well incorporated and smooth.
  • Return sauce pan to medium heat and cook, stirring often until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This may take about 20 minutes. Pour custard through a fine strainer to a medium bowl and cool.
  • Refrigerate until chilled (a couple of hours at least).
  • Process chilled custard in your ice cream maker according to machine's instructions. Transfer to a storage container and freeze at least 4 hours.

Toasted Orzo

Toasted Orzo

I had forgotten about this recipe for a while. I made it for a crowd many years ago and was asked for the recipe by a few of the guests.   They are still raving about it.  Since they reminded me of it I have put it back into my regular rotation of recipes.

Orzo is pasta in the shape of rice and makes a great side dish hot or as a cold salad.  Toasting the orzo in the oven before cooking it is an unusual step and  it gives it a wonderful, nutty flavour.  This makes a great side for pork or chicken. The mushrooms contribute to the nutty, earthy flavour of it so anything that mushrooms go well with, this will too.  I served it with schnitzel in the spirit of  Jaeger schnitzel.

The recipe calls for fresh tarragon.  If you like tarragon go for it.  I like it better without but my guests liked it in – so – it is up to you!

This makes a lot- about 12 servings so it is great for a crowd.  You may want to halve it if you only have a few people or you will be eating left overs! May not be a bad thing – it reheats well!

Toasted Orzo

Toasted Orzo

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb orzo
  • 2 Tbsps oil
  • 6 shallots minced
  • 1 1b sliced mushrooms (I like Cremini)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine (Or use another cup of broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used 10%)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, minced optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay orzo out in single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Toast in oven about 20 minutes. Orzo will be a medium brown.
  • Sautée shallot in oil about 4 minutes. Use a large skillet since you will be adding all other ingredients in shortly.
  • Add mushrooms and sautée another 10 minutes.
  • Add broth, wine if using, orzo and bay leaf to the skillet.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered til orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed - about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in cream and tarragon if using. Simmer another 5 minutes and serve.