Sauerkraut Braised in Beer: An Early Spring Delight

Yes, sauerkraut is a spring vegetable.

Yes, it is made in the autumn, and eaten all winter, but the last of it is also eaten in the early spring, before the emergence of the first spring greens, asparagus and peas.

Well, it is eaten in the spring if you made enough of it to get you that far.

Anyway, here is my recipe for beer braised sauerkraut.

First you need some kraut–and make it good kraut while you are at it. The best is what you or a trusted friend makes themselves, but failing that, you can buy it in a jar or in a vacuum sealed plastic bag. But, please, not a can–the canned stuff tastes like metal to me, which is not a stellar recommendation for it as a palate-pleaser.

Then, you need to deeply caramelize some onions. Yes, here is yet another recipe that is improved by the technique of deeply browning onions; the sweetness of the onions perfectly compliments the tang of the sauerkraut, with the beer balancing everything.

For extra flavor, I also add minced garlic, a few juniper berries or a sprig of rosemary and some dried thyme and lots of freshly ground pepper.

It is simple to make and goes great with any type of sausage, with sauteed mushrooms and mashed potatoes. I particularly like it this way–a mound of garlic mashed potatoes with a well with some butter, topped with the braised sauerkraut, then the whole thing is finished with the sauteed mushrooms.

That right there is vegetarian heaven for me.

Beer Braised Sauerkraut

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon drippings
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon juniper berries, lightly crushed or 1″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and lightly crushed, stem discarded
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound sauerkraut
12 ounces lager or ale


Heat oil or drippings in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add in onions, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown. Add garlic, juniper or rosemary, thyme and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are deep brown and sweet-smelling. Add beer, and sauerkraut, lower heat, simmering until most of the liquid is boiled away, and everything is fragrant and good. Stir now and then during the simmering, and serve with sausage, or with mushrooms and mashed potatoes.


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  1. How much kraut is this good to season?

    Comment by sgt pepper — April 13, 2008 #

  2. Wow that looks delicious! I bet it would be great layered into a casserole of mashed potatos, cheese, maybe some sausage and noodles (my Polish great aunt always made her “sauerkraut lasagna” like this).

    Comment by Josie — April 14, 2008 #

  3. do you drain and rinse the kraut?

    I keep wanting to make my own kraut but haven’t quite gotten up the nerve yet ^_^

    Comment by Thalionar — April 14, 2008 #

  4. I top saurkraut on tofu with miso and mustard spread along with lettuce and tomato. Never made it from scratch, though.

    Comment by vegoftheweek — April 14, 2008 #

  5. Oh, this makes my German/Pennsylvania Dutch heart sing….. Perhaps some sausage is in order tonight…..

    Comment by Tammy — April 14, 2008 #

  6. This is amazing. In Slovakia, we adore saur kraut! and beer. what a combo, I am so trying this one.

    Comment by Zlamushka — April 18, 2008 #

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