A family favorite around our house, this sausage and sauerkraut dish is a holiday tradition my mom always served to bring health, wealth, and prosperity in the New Year.
3 lbs Polish kielbasa sausage
12 cups water
1 (27 oz) can crispy sauerkraut
2/3 cup barley
5 teaspoons caraway seeds
6 cups water
6 medium potatoes
Salt and pepper
- Place sausage in a large pot with 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse sauerkraut. Place sauerkraut, barley, and caraway seeds in another large pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
- Peel and cube potatoes. To prevent your peeled, cubed potatoes from turning brown, place them in cold water until you’re ready to use them; then, drain just before using.
- After 1 hour, remove sausage from water, set aside, and let cool. In that same water, boil the potatoes until tender.
- When cooled, slice cooked sausage into bite-sized chunks and add to sauerkraut. Continue simmering.
- When potatoes are tender, add to sausage and sauerkraut. Salt and pepper to taste.
Most times, I use mild Italian sausage instead of Polish kielbasa; and, yes, I boil it. Purists will argue that you should never ever boil Italian sausage. O well . . . for this dish, I do. It tastes great and has just the right flavor and texture to mimic my mom’s traditional recipe.
Boil the sausage over a medium-high heat or less. Higher heat will cook it too quickly and cause the skin to burst before the inside meat is cooked thoroughly. Slower is better. Using a low heat, you can leave the sausage on to cook unattended while you prepare the sauerkraut and peel the potatoes. It will take an hour or so before the sausage is done; but slow cooking will produce a moist, more-flavorful meat.
Cooking the potatoes in the same “sausage” water will release some of the meat’s flavors into the potatoes.
If the sausage I use has a skin or casing, I remove it after the sausage has been cooked, before I start slicing. It comes off easy enough if you score it first and then peel. But beware, there is hot juice under the skin, so proceed with caution.
Served with a small side salad and fresh bread with sweet butter, this dish makes a delicious meal!
Store covered in refrigerator.
Reheat leftovers by single servings in the microwave.
Each New Year, revelers around the world chow down on specific foods to summon good luck for the next 365 days. While some traditions call for noodles and others call for fruit, all are symbols of forward movement, prosperity, health and a fortune-filled future.