Getting Serious About Sauerkraut

Munkipawse loves sauerkraut, but only seems to eat it with a hot dog from a street cart. "[There's] something about a steamy, blistery hot dog served in a warm, soft roll smothered in mustard and 'kraut," Munkipawse says.

But beyond its enshrined place as a beloved hot dog condiment, what is sauerkraut good for?

paulj likes to prepare his own interpretation of the French Alsatian sauerkraut casserole, choucroute. He starts with a couple of pounds of sauerkraut from the butcher, as well as a ham shank. "I then braise them together (drain and squeeze the 'kraut first), along with onion, crushed juniper berries, smoked sausage if available, diced apple. ... Cook at low heat in a Dutch oven for a couple of hours until the 'kraut is soft and browning, and the ham is falling off the bone," he says. "Maybe add some potatoes toward the end."

Karl S likes the pickled vegetable simmered in wine—especially a Riesling—along with sautéed onions and caraway or juniper seeds. "Add in some diced apple or pear. Simmer away," he says.

BrettLove dreams of a sturgeon and sauerkraut tart that the restaurant The Modern in New York City serves. "I love cabbage, feel that it gets a bad rap [in the U.S.], and am always psyched to see it treated with honor and featured by chefs," BrettLove says.

Another tip from MiriamWoodstock: If you want sauerkraut that's more exciting than the precooked, pasteurized stuff in the jar, try the "raw, still-active, burbling stuff from the farmers' market," she says. It's strongly flavored and delicious, and it's still fermenting, like old-fashioned, preindustrial sauerkraut. (Or you could try making your own: Here's CHOW's sauerkraut recipe.)

Discuss: Hot or cold Sauerkraut? How do you eat it and with what?

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