Pork and Sauerkraut to Polish people is kind of like Spaghetti and Sauce to Italians. Everyone’s grandmother had their way of making it, every family recipe is different, but they all have one thing in common: they are delicious.
I’ve heard of it being prepared with apple chunks and slices, others claim the secret ingredient is pork lard. And my best friend’s family insists it be made one week ahead of time to sit until it really builds flavor.
Before I set out telling you about my recipe, I am not going to claim it is the best or authentic. What I will say is that it is darn good and there are A LOT of darn good kielbasa and sausage recipes out there.
What's In This Article
Pork and Sauerkraut Ingredients
While it is technically a pork and sausage recipe, I use kielbasa because I like that it is precooked and has a smoky flavor. Many traditional recipes wuse a pork shoulder or even a loin roast. But kielbasa is pork, so it technically counts.
Some recipes even add bell peppers and refer to it as “sausage and peppers” which to me is also a baked Italian dish. But alas, I digress…
This recipe for kielbasa and sauerkraut is pretty basic and does not use peppers. Instead it uses:
- Brown Sugar
I use apple juice for the liquid, but you can also use chicken stock, plain water or even dry white wine.
Which usually brings non-Polish readers to asking the next question… what is sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage, basically pickled. It is best to be rinsed and drained before cooking otherwise you might get a super vinegary flavor. It would be like using pickles and not draining them… which some pickle fanatics probably would do!
It is also fairly easy to make at home. I made it once a few years ago and the batch was so good that it was gone by the time I went to go take pictures and post the recipe.
In Maryland, where I live, sauerkraut and sausage is eaten all the time, but mostly for celebratory events. It might sound odd to others, but you’ll see it at Thanksgiving and also Christmas, but most notably, New Year’s.
Pork and Sauerkraut is rumored to bring good fortune to those who eat it. Some Pennsylvania Dutch claim the pork is to “always root forward” as a pig does with its nose.
Others claim this is all a bunch of nonsense and just like a good pork with sauerkraut.
Make Pork and Sauerkraut
This version is made in a skillet on the stovetop, but you can also make in the slow cooker or even Instant Pot.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add diced potato. This takes the longest to cook, so you’ll start with it first. Saute until pieces start to turn translucent and soften, about 5 minutes.
Add onion and kielbasa. Toss until kielbasa browns and onion softens, about 5 minutes. It will be fragrant at this point.
Add rinsed and drained sauerkraut, apple juice and brown sugar, mixing until combined. Reduce to a low simmer and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper at the very end fo the flavors aren’t muted. Serve or place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Pork and sauerkraut can be made ahead of time, in fact some insist it is better after it sits for several hours.
It is also perfect for freezing, but keep in mind that the sauerkraut might not be as snappy when thawed.
More Skillet Recipes:
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Pork and Sauerkraut Skillet
- In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add diced potato. This takes the longest to cook, so you'll start with it first. Saute until pieces start to turn translucent and soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add onion and kielbasa. Toss until kielbasa browns and onion softens, about 5 minutes.
- Add rinsed and drained sauerkraut, apple juice and brown sugar, mixing until combined. Reduce to a low simmer and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve immediately.
- If you've tried this recipe come back and let us know how it was!