This hearty, chicken stock—braised kraut is smoky, spicy, and well balanced, with sweet onions, garlic, and bacon fat nicely contrasting the brightness and brininess of jarred sauerkraut. If you prefer the end result even more sour, feel free to add a splash more brine from the jar.
Each year, deep in Minnesota's northwoods, Amy Thielen invites a close-knit band of friends to hunt her land, and fortifies them with lusty, late-fall dishes like venison and sauerkraut that rival any turkey and stuffing
- 6 thick slices bacon (6 oz.), cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 large Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. hot smoked paprika, or substitute ground cayenne to taste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 packed cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 2 packed cups good-quality brined sauerkraut such as Bubbies brand, drained but not rinsed
- 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. finely grated raw white potato
Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp on the edges, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a dish. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan and discard. Add the butter, onion, and 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add rosemary and both paprikas and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Stir in the white wine and bring to a boil. Let reduce slightly, then add the cabbage; cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Stir in the sauerkraut, chicken stock, bay leaves, and reserved bacon. Partially cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer; cook until the cabbage is tender and the mixture is saucy, 35–40 minutes. Stir in the potato and cook until tender, 1–2 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves from the pot and serve.