Sauerkraut

I love fresh sauerkraut, uncanned and uncooked, but this long-cooked, complexly seasoned version is the kind to serve with roast pork. Or with anything else.

Note that I use juniper berries in my kraut, which is traditional in western Germany, and bay, which is not really traditional at all but which I have in spades from the tree in my back yard. Caraway is more common in central and eastern Europe, and it’s the flavor many Americans associate with sauerkraut, but I think the herbal and astringent qualities of juniper and bay pair better with the kraut and cut through its richness.

    • 1-2 thick slices bacon, diced

    In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the meat is nearly crisp.

    • 1 small onion, diced small
    • 1 tart apple, diced small

    Add to the pot and cook over low heat until soft but not brown.

    • 2 pints sauerkraut
    • dry white wine such as Riesling
    • 6–8 juniper berries
    • 1 bay leaf

    Add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cook, covered, over very low heat for about 2 hours, until the kraut is soft and the flavors have blended and mellowed. (You should see only the tiniest bubbles in the kraut as it cooks. If you have a flame tamer, this is the time to use it!)

    • 1 small starchy potato (white or russet)

    Grate the potato into the kraut and stir. Let simmer another 20 to 30 minutes until the potato has melted into the liquid and thickened it.