German cooking/baking is very important in my household, much more than even say Japanese. Shocking, right? This is due to the fact my ancestors are from Germany, I am the 2nd-3rd generation American. There are different tales in my family, however, my grandmother was conceived in Germany and born in America. So, I am not sure if I can be considered 2nd or 3rd generation but this minor technicality does not change much as my sister and I were always surrounded by German culture. My ancestral debate is for certain not the reason for your return here today though, as always it is for the food. This recipe is considered an Eintopf (stew of sorts) that contains vegan sausages and sauerkraut. It is a recipe that is definite to give you a warm, homey feeling deep within but maybe not to be served on a first date.
This is a meal my grandmother used to make when I was younger, it was a meal I never really cared for though to tell you the truth. Although I was not vegan at the time, I was not a big meat eater (especially not the type of sausages for this dish). Vegetarians were not even heard of when I was young, there were no labels for dietary restrictions/preferences. Now that I am older and my taste palate has altered to include more than just grilled cheese and plain pasta, I love the idea and taste of this traditional recipe. My Grandmothers’ version was not a stew but rather she would steam the sausages in the sauerkraut for a good amount of time before serving. This is a nice play on her traditional recipe.
The original recipe comes from the My Best German Recipes website. It was originally not vegan so I had to change a few ingredients along with changing the measurements from metric.
German sauerkraut and Sausage Stew
1.5-2 lbs potatoes (around 3-4 potatoes), cubed
2 onions, diced
1 jar Sauerkraut
6 c vegan broth (I used Chickenfree broth)
1 bay leave
1 pkg Vegan sausage (I used 4 sausage links), thickly sliced
1 c vegan milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1 tbsp mustard (I used whole-grain mustard)
- In a medium-sized soup pot, saute the vegan sausages until browned.
- Sauté potatoes and onions in the same pot as in step #1, about 10 minutes.
- Add the sauerkraut, bay leaf and vegan broth to the browning mixture and let it boil on medium-heat for another 10 minutes.
- Mix in the vegan milk and the mustard to the stew. Lightly season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add the sausages back into the mixture, keep at a simmer until everything is completely warmed through.
Recreating this recipe in my kitchen was bitter sweet for me this year. My German grandmother went into a nursing home this year, something she never wanted to do in her lifetime. I come from a very long line of independent, stubborn German ladies so this change was a big step for all of us. Seeing as she is getting a bit older, she no longer cooks for the family. As strange as it may sound, none of my family members cook German food, including my mother on most occasions, so recreating this in my kitchen was a sign of my grandmother being in the kitchen once again. It stirred up emotions and happy memories learning how to cook alongside her as a young child. Sometimes I am asked why I like to cook so much and this is one of the many reason why, food is not only made in a kitchen but memories. These memories are what I wish to pass down in my kitchen when I have children and grandchildren, not those of us just going out to eat at a restaurant.