Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato casserole

It's sauerkraut, sausages and potato but not as my ancestors knew it.  Yes, I do have German ancestors and perhaps that is why I have been seeking vegetarian bratwurst that would be as amazing as the one you find at the Vic Market.  I was quite excited to find some at Radical Grocery.  I had planned that they would be eaten in bread rolls with mustard and sauerkraut.  Then I got distracted with other ideas.

I became fascinated by the idea of sauerkraut in a casserole.  After searching the web I had a few recipes I liked.  Fortunately I made these on a night when E was out at the school information night.  (Yes, Sylvia will start school next year.  Don't ask me where the years have gone!)  This gave me plenty of time to fry and rinse and grill.  It wasn't a quick recipe.

Yet again, Sylvia ate her dinner and was in bed before our dinner was ready. As is my way, I gave her some of what I was putting in our dinner, just to taste.  I thought she would like the bratwurst sausages.  She ate a little.  Then she decided she didn't like them because the sausages were too white.  Sigh!  It is hard work to try and expand the culinary horizons of a 4 year old.

I was concerned that the casserole might be quite heavy with sausages and potato.  The Vegelicious recipe had soy cheese and I had a mind to use regular cheese that I had in the fridge.  Then I saw Amber Sheas vegan nacho cheese sauce.  It was brilliant.  So simple and so tasty.  This was one of the simpler vegan cheese sauces I have made.  Red capsicum made the cashews creamy with 3 to 4 minutes in my little blender.  I kept it fairly bland because the rest of the casserole was big on flavour.

I was very pleased with the casserole.  It was not as heavy as I feared.  Rather, it was very tasty with intense flavours from the sausage and light from the apple.  Everything melded together quite well.  I had thought E might protest at the apple.  He usually finds any fruit in his meals to be too much fruit.  But he didn't even notice it.  I took that as a sign that it worked.

I served it with some plain steamed vegetables.  (The below photo is on the second night when I reheated it in the oven and had time for more vegies than a few carrots and brussels sprouts.)  Roast vegetables would be great with it too.  The casserole didn't slice up neatly thanks to the sauerkraut.  That is fine with me.  After all this is peasant food.  I assume I didn't descend from German nobility.

Thanks to the red capsicum, the casserole turned out which orange.  So I am sending it to Catherine's Anyone can cook Vegetarian challenge.  This month the theme is orange.  Actually I re-read the rules and Catherine has said it should feature an orange food.  I hope that an orange coloured cheeze sauce will fit the bill.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Limes: history, trivia and limeade
Two years ago: Kale pesto and garden update
Three years ago: SHF Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Four years ago: Refugee Week Stew
Five years ago: Choc Honey Muffins

Sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato casserole
Inspired by Greyt Vegan Life, Vegalicious and Amber Shea
serves 4
  • 700g potatoes
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 (total 200g) vegan bratwurst sausages*
  • 425g tin of sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained (I think I squeezed out the water)
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
Red pepper cheeze sauce:
  • 1 medium red capsicum, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Soak raw cashews for the sauce for 20 minutes in boiling water.
Cook potato for about 20 to 25 minutes until  soft.  Grate.
Fry the onion slices in a splash of vegetable oil for about 20 to 25 minutes until soft and caramelised.
Cook the bratwurst under the grill (broiler) until brown and slightly crisp.  Chop into about 1cm slices.
Make the sauce by blending all ingredients until smooth (I did this in my small blender attachment for my hand held blender).
Mix grated potato, fried onion, sliced bratwurst, well rinsed sauerkraut and apple in a large bowl.  Stir through cheeze sauce.
Tip into a large shallow casserole dish and smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.
Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.  (I cooked mine for 25 minutes and left it for another 30 to 45 minutes in the oven after I turned off the oven.)  Serve in wedges with vegies.

*NOTE: I think that tofu bacon would work as an alternative to the bratwurst sausages.

On the Stereo:
Adagio 2: Herbert von Karajan

26 comments:

  1. So unusual but fabulous Johanna. I know about time flying,. Cooper will be off to school next year too and he isn't even four yet. It seems like madness.

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    1. Thanks Jac - goodness - hard to believe wee cooper will be at school next year too

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  2. Hi Johanna
    it looks really delicious............I was wondering what the addition of the yeast in the sauce is for?

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    1. Thanks Helen - the yeast I used is nutritional yeast flakes which gives a cheesy flavour rather than making bread rise - you can find it at health food stores - it is an acquired taste but great if you are making cheesy vegan dishes

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  3. Sauerkraut! Amber! Fake meat! So many of my favourite things!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - so if I packaged it and put it in an American supermarket would you buy it :-)

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  4. I love the idea of sauerkraut in a recipe! We had sauerkraut the other night in a stew and it was delicious :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I rarely have sauerkraut so it is always a novelty

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  5. Tee-hee. I must admit that I'm not much of a sauerkraut-bratwurst-potato girl. The heavy German cuisine was never appealing to me - too much meat and fat and too little veggies!

    Sauerkraut is very typical of southern Germany, while in the north, everything is usually eaten with stewed kale (and then there's a region in-between where people eat both sauerkraut and stewed kale). Being from northern Germany, I'm much more familiar with kale, so sauerkraut was and is something I hardly eat at all. My mom didn't make traditional German dishes very often, just on occasion because my Dad wished to eat them sometimes, and then I'd usually pick on the potatoes and veggies and not care much about the wurst. :P

    A nice, traditional (and usually vegetarian, if they don't put bacon - yuck - into the sauerkraut) dish in southwestern Germany is Schupfnudeln (finger-shaped potato dumplings) with sauerkraut, I've eaten that a restaurant and at the Christmas market.

    http://www.kuechengoetter.de/rezepte/verschiedenes/Schupfnudeln-mit-Sauerkraut-2425.html

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    1. Thanks Kath - great to hear some local views on sauerkraut - I am not very familiar with german cuisine but the idea of bratwurst and sauerkraut does appeal. Both kale and sauerkraut were very absent from my childhood which may be why they both fascinate me.

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  6. Orange food or orange outcome is equally good!

    I love the idea of this - I would never imagine traditional German food adapting well to vegetarianism, and really, sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato are about as German as one can get.

    I'm really curious about this, and will definitely give it a try.

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    1. Thanks Catherine - I felt it was an achievement to make this vegan considering the sorts of recipes I was seeing online. Being orange was just a little bonus. It tasted like nothing I have ever had before but I enjoyed it.

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  7. I don't really know sauerkraut, so it is hard for me to imagine this. Unlike E, any fruit in my dinner is a good sign though, so I think that would get me off to a good start! I love how you've taken a traditional German dish and changed it up too.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I am not very familiar with sauerkraut either - got a little confused at one recipe talking about good sauerkraut not needing rinsing like the supermarket one but I love fruit in dinner too (and put it in where I can despite E's misgivings). Wish I could explain it better but I can tell you it is not really creamy or cheesy despite the cheese sauce - it mixes well into everything else

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  8. This sounds really interesting! I can't sneak fruit into meals without getting protests either and this puts me off making a heap of recipes. Good to hear that E enjoyed this meal!

    I've seen those sausages around lately too but they haven't made it into my basket yet. What did you think of them?

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    1. Thanks Mel - I still put fruit into recipes where possible - E is very good at just eating around this sort of thing. I liked the sausages - but they weren't as dense and full-bodied as I expected a german sausage to be - but I probably didn't use them in a way that helped to get a great sense of their flavour

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  9. I've never seen veg bratwurst in the US! Going to have to keep an eye out though because I've never had bratwurst of any kind!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - it was the first time I saw it and I was very excited - I had german sausages that I think might have been bratwurst at our vic market many years ago before I was vegetarian and still have fond memories of it (hence my desire to eat it in a bun)

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  10. Wow this recipe reminds me of what I ate almost everyday in Germany lol yummy stuff

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    1. Thanks Nat - I can barely remember what I ate in my brief trip to Germany except good bread and lebkuchen

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  11. Neato! I am half-German and while I grew up loving strudel and schnitzel, I didn't grow fond of sauerkraut until recently. I've never had it in a casserole but it sound delicious. :)

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    1. Thanks Janet - actually we had strudel occasionally as kids but I don't think we ate schnitzel. I am still a bit sauerkraut shy but recommend it in a casserole

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  12. Nice combination of things like the idea of the apple in this to lighten it up. Here in Seattle we have the Field Roast company which makes some great flavors of vegetarian sausage. They all have seitan, though, which I avoid due to the gluten. But I do use the sausages for the rest of my family. Good luck gradually getting your kids to eat more! I had good luck with that over the years-- and even in the teenage years they gradually ate more. I think it helped to model the adults in the family trying new foods, too. And to keep it light and never say anything about what they ate or not ate besides an encouragement to take a 'no thank you helping.' (I'd put, or have them put, a bite or two of a new or disfavored food on their plate. They didn't have to eat it but it was just there in case they decided to try it.)

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    1. Thanks Mary - interesting to hear your comment about adults modelling trying new food - E and I eat a lot of new food as I love making new recipes and trying new foods - ironically Sylvia probably eats a lot more vegies and other foods than I ate when a child but she just doesn't like everything mixed up which is something we need to work on - I take heart that my niece was the same and now she eats lots of really interesting stuff

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  13. Yum this looks so totally delicious! i'm a big sauerkraut fan :-)

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    1. Thanks Sandy - definitely one for sauerkraut fans :-)

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