Sauerkraut is the German word for fermented, salted, shredded cabbage. The manufacturing process is very simple and requires only salt, cabbage and time. The fermenting temperature will affect the quality of the product. In addition to salt other ingredients are sometimes added, for example apples, juniper berries or caraway seeds.
Hot peppers are always added, a procedure that is usually not practiced in Europe. Sauerkraut was the most important vegetable in the Roman Empire and was thought to have medicinal values. Originally it was made by soaking cabbage leaves in vinegar or sour wine. In medieval times in Germany cabbage was fermented with salt, seasonings and berries. Those made with quartered apples or sliced apples turns out particularly nice. Regardless of how it is made or called, all fermented cabbages share one factor together: they are very healthy. The dish is rich in vitamin C, an important fact that was known in the past.
Fermented sauerkraut is considered a probiotic, a natural ingredient that is beneficial to one’s health. Probiotics contain live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism. Lactic acid bacteria are present in our intestines and are responsible for digesting food. They break down food by fermentation. Homemade sauerkraut is loaded with lactic acid bacteria, so is yogurt, which is another probiotic. A fermented cabbage contains living bacteria from the Lactobacillus family, the same bacteria are present in our digestive tract. Whenever we ingest the dish we supply an additional army of bacteria which lends a helping hand to bacteria which are already present in our stomach.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham
- 1 cup finely chopped corned beef
- 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sauerkraut, drained and minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 egg
- 2 cups milk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 quart oil for frying
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in ham, corned beef and garlic. Cook mixture, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in 6 tablespoons flour and cook mixture over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
- Stir in sauerkraut, parsley, and broth; cook for 3 minutes or until thickened and paste-like. Spread mixture on a platter and chill for at least 3 hours.
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and 2 1/2 cups flour. Shape the sauerkraut mixture by level teaspoons in to balls, dip them into the egg mixture and roll them in the bread crumbs.
- Fry balls in batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm.
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