I never quite learned to enjoy the taste of Sauerkraut. I guess I would have had I been a fan of pickled food, for according to the Kitchen Project, the dish is originally – wait for it – Chinese!
Yes, fermented cabbage is believed to have been spread to Europe by Genghis Khan in the 13th century after invading the Middle Kingdom.
Today’s Sauerkraut (literally, sour cabbage) is fermented in salt and sugar rather than rice wine and served with pork of all kinds and potatoes or dumplings.
The German Wikipedia entry lists the various German regional cuisines in which Sauerkraut features as well as cuisines from further afield. There is also great detail on how it is prepared and its manifold health benefits.
The other way that I feel Germans really resemble Chinese in culinary terms is that they are mad about pork and eat every part of the pig – trotters, blood and all. But they go further and waste very little of all meats.
So Yoggi featuring liver as the main dish to go with the Sauerkraut was no surprise. A hint as to taking the bitter taste out of liver is to soak it in milk for at least half an hour.
Yoggi’s Sauerkraut is unorthodox in that the cabbage is cooked in vinegar instead of fermenting it in salt and sugar. Once cooked, it can last up to one week in the fridge; it should not be frozen.
The last dish to go in this mix is mashed potatoes. Good mashed potatoes can be guaranteed by choosing starchy potato varieties such as russet or baby red potatoes.
Recipe: Yoggi’s Braised Liver with Sauerkraut and Mashed Potatoes
(for 4 people)
Braised Liver with Onions
Beef liver 4 pieces
Onions 2 large
Flour to coat
Salt and pepper
1. Slice the liver into thin slices.
2. Slice the onions into thick rings. Saute in a little butter till soft. Remove.
3. Coat the liver in flour.
4. Heat enough butter for the liver to swim in, add the liver and brown over high heat, seasoning each side before turning it over.
5. Turn the heat down, add more butter and a little water if too dry.
6. Cover and braise liver, turning occasionally for 20 – 30 minutes until cooked.
7. Add the onions.
8. Serve with Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and salad.
Dry white wine 400ml
Vegetable stock 1/4L
Sugar 5 tbsp or more
*Streaky bacon 100g – chopped
*Onion 1 medium size – dice
*Bay leaf 2
*Black peppercorns 5
1. Shred the cabbage so that the slices are long.
2. Lightly cook the cabbage, vinegar (enough to cover the cabbage) and half the white wine for 10 minutes, until the cabbage is soft but still firm.
3. Add the stock, the rest of the wine and cook uncovered until the water evaporates and the cabbage is soft.
4. Add sugar to taste.
5. For a more zesty option, add * in Step (3).
Onions 1 big
*Milk 2 tbs
*Salt & pepper
1. Boil the potatoes till soft.
2. Cube the onions. Fry onions till glassy.
3. When the potatoes are cooked, remove the skin.
4. Stir in * till it is a smooth mix.
5. Stir in onions till smooth.
6. You can also make some brown sauce to serve with the mash.
This is part of my series on Yoggis Hausmannskost (Yoggi’s Plain Cooking), a collection of German recipes and associated thoughts. The recipes are those of my dear friend and great cook, Yoggi. Our cooking sessions – and long chats – were instrumental in my picking up and practising German and German culture.