Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Polish Sauerkraut

This year my mom came up for Easter and I promised her an old-fashioned Polish Easter.  I made homemade Zur soup (fermented sour-rye based soup), cheese and sauerkraut/mushroom pierogi, and rye bread.  Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting many of the recipes used for the meal.
Sauerkraut is roughly translated to "sour herb" in German and basically is a pickled/fermented shredded cabbage.  The shredded cabbage is pickled in a process called lacto-fermentation.  Lactic acid is added to the shredded cabbage and over the course of the fermentation process the acid breaks down the sugars in the cabbage and "cures" it.  Once cured, the cabbage can be stored for months.
Polish Sauerkraut

2 pounds sauerkraut (in bag)
1/2 cup bacon; chopped and cooked
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1/4 cup carrots; shredded
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup lard
1/4 cup flour

1.  Rinse sauerkraut with cold water for several seconds and drain well.  Taste and test for sourness.  Rinse again if necessary. 

2.  In a large pot, combine pepper salt, caraway seeds, shredded carrots, and water.  Add browned bacon to the pot.  Bring to boil.  Cook uncovered over medium heat for 30-45 minutes.

3.  In a skillet, melt butter and lard, while stirring add flour.  Keep stirring until mixture (rue) turns light brown.

4.  Slowly add mixture to the sauerkraut stirring constantly to prevent clumping.  Cook 10-20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Broccoli Casserole

This simple to assemble and quick to bake casserole has a great creamy sauce with just a hint of lemon.  You can assemble this in the morning and bake it when you get home from work.  While you are preparing your protein for the meal this can be baking. We served this casserole with barbecued pork chops and stuffing.

I used fresh broccoli and steamed it partially in the microwave until crisp tender.  The 45 minute baking time was perfect.

Broccoli Casserole

3        tablespoons butter
1        onion, chopped
2        10 ounce packages chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
1        10.75 ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1        cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1        cup mayonnaise
2        eggs, beaten
½       teaspoon garlic salt
¼       teaspoon ground black pepper
½       teaspoon seasoned salt
1 ½    teaspoons lemon juice
12      buttery round crackers, crushed fine
2        tablespoons butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until golden.

3.  In a 2 quart casserole dish, mix together onion, broccoli, soup, cheese, mayonnaise, eggs, garlic salt, pepper, seasoned salt, and lemon juice. Sprinkle crushed crackers over top and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

4. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.