Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut

Let's face it, sauerkraut stinks.  I mean, it literally smells bad.  For that reason, I boycotted it for most of my life.  But a few months ago, in the name of second chances, I gave it another shot.  The verdict: it was okay.  It wasn't something I would go out of the way to eat, but it was edible.

Shortly after my encounter with sauerkraut, I saw this recipe for beer and brown sugar kielbasa and sauerkraut.  I have never tried kielbasa, and I was intrigued by the idea of adding beer and brown sugar to sauerkraut.  If sauerkraut is edible on it own, how good would it be with beer and brown sugar?  I held onto the recipe but never made it until last weekend.  

My only wish is that I hadn't waited so long.  It turns out that with a little TLC, sauerkraut can actually be pretty awesome.  Through the magical power of beer and brown sugar, sauerkraut goes from strong and overpowering to mild, mellow, and delicious!  And I've always been a brat kind of girl, but this kielbasa definitely holds its own, too!  So if you have been avoiding sauerkraut or kielbasa because you think they are the food version of pond scum, I urge you to give them a second chance and try this recipe!

This is football watching food at its finest.  It's boozy, it's bold, it's brilliant!  And perhaps best of all, it couldn't be easier.  This is the perfect recipe for your Super Bowl party because you can put it all together in about 5 minutes and then just let it simmer in its own deliciousness until you are ready to devour it.  And everyone will love you for it!  

To make yourself the most popular Super Bowl party host or hostess of all time, start by melting  brown sugar in beer in a saucepan.  When I started making this, my husband said it was a waste to use beer like this.  I think he changed his mind after tasting it!
Cut the kielbasa into hotdog-sized links and put them in the slow cooker.
Top with drained sauerkraut and pour the beer mixture over it all. 
Now let it all simmer into delicious kielbasa/sauerkraut goodness.  You can cook it on high, low, or a combination of the two.  I did 2 hours on high and then 6 hours on low.  The longer you cook it, the better it will be!
Now pile it all on a bun, or eat it just by itself.  If you're going the bun route, I recommend my whole wheat beer buns.  Beer buns and beer and brown sugar kielbasa were made for each other!  These have enough flavor that you don't need to top them with anything, but we topped ours with spicy brown mustard, which was awesome! 
Bottom line, if you are making something for your Super Bowl party, or a basketball game, or just eating food in general, please make these!

Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut
12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
3 pounds polish kielbasa
1 bag (or jar) sauerkraut (32 ounces), drained

Combine the beer and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened; set aside.

Cut the kielbasa into links and place in a slow cooker. Cover with the drained sauerkraut. Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over top. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Serve on its own, in a bun, or on your favorite sandwich roll.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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