Maybe it’s the Czech in me, but I really like sauerkraut. It showed up on the party buffet pretty regularly during my childhood and – drumroll, please – it was one vegetable dish I would actually eat. I think I enjoyed that combo of sweet and sour with a little bit of crunch.
The March 2008 issue of Everyday Food had a spread on green cabbage, which included a Quick Sauerkraut recipe with three ways to incorporate the sauerkraut as a recipe ingredient. The Quick Sauerkraut recipe is for *cooked* sauerkraut – hallelujah! – instead fermented sauerkraut, which kind of freaks me out. (I don’t think I could serve anything that required skimming the surface daily for mold during fermentation. Ick.)
Quick Sauerkraut can be made ahead and stored for 2 weeks, which really cuts down on the time needed for the “application” recipes. I decided to use my sauerkraut in the Pierogi with Sauerkraut and Mushrooms recipe in that same Everyday Food issue.
These recipes aren’t posted online, so here are the ingredients:
1 head green cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), outer leaves removed, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Pierogi with Sauerkraut and Mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
10 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cups Quick Sauerkraut
1 package (1 pound) frozen potato pierogi
To make the sauerkraut, I combined the cabbage, vinegar, salt, and 1 1/4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. I covered the pan and cooked the mixture over medium, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage was tender (30 – 35 min.). The recipe says that if the bottom of the pan starts to brown, you can add 1/4 cup more water, but I didn’t have to do this. I cooled the sauerkraut a bit and refrigerated it until I was ready to make the pierogi.
For the pierogi dish, I started by heating the olive oil over medium in a large skillet. I added the chopped onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked it, stirring occasionally, until it started to soften (5 minutes). I added the mushrooms and cooked, stirring occasionally, until they were browned (10 minutes). I added the sauerkraut and cooked until the mixture was warmed through.
During the onion and mushroom cooking time, I cooked the pierogi according to package directions. (Yes, this recipe is a bit of a “cheat” – no pierogi from scratch!) In this case, I boiled them for 5 minutes and then browned them in some olive oil in a skillet over medium until they were golden brown (about 2 – 3 minutes per side). I served the pierogi over the sauerkraut and mushrooms.
This type of dish isn’t standard fare in my kitchen, but it was really delicious. Dr. O enjoyed it as well. The pierogi were pleasantly chewy and full of yummy potatoes, and the vegetable “bed” was a flavorful complement. Plus, if you make the sauerkraut ahead of time, the pierogi dish only takes 20 minutes. I’ll definitely make this again.
TIPS: I found my frozen pierogi near the “party foods” – blintzes, mini quiche, etc. I think mine were Golden brand, and I bought the potato and onion combination.