There is no Christmas at our, or any Latvian house without sautéed sauerkraut. This is one of my versions. The simplest one that most Latvians make is with onion (or not), some sugar, water, salt, pepper and a bay leave. That’s it. That is how my mom used to make it for Christmas, too. Although I love that version, I love this version, made with apples or cranberries and lots of spices. I love how the caramel gives a deeper taste, as does burning it a bit.
60 g butter
3 tbsp dark muscavado sugar
200 g cleaned apples, cut into pieces
1 kg naturally fermented sauerkraut with caraway seeds
3 allspice peppercorns, crushed
3 cloves, crushed
3 juniper berries, crushed
2 garlic cloves, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 rosemary sprigs
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
50 g dried cranberries
Heat butter, sugar and apples in a pot and cook until brown and caramelized (4-6 minutes). Add rest of the ingredients, except water, and stir. Fry for another 5-7 minutes. Add water (1 cm above the cabbage), raise the heat, and wait until it starts to boil. Turn down the heat to medium and sauté on low heat for 1.5 hours. Remove the lid and check for water. When it starts to get dry, let the cabbage burn a bit, so that it starts to stick to the bottom. They will start to get brown and that will make the cabbage taste deeper. Add more water (just to the top of the cabbage) and sauté for one more hour.
Recipe and photos: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s