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Best Polish Recipes With Sauerkraut

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Kapusta kiszona (sauerkraut) is one of the popular dishes in Poland. It is a very versatile dish and is really easy to prepare. The thing about the Polish sauerkraut is that it takes time and patience to make. In fact, making it takes so much effort that it is not uncommon for people to work together to make a large quantity. 

You will find that Polish sauerkraut is often eaten on its own. It is a tasty snack and well-loved by people across the country. At other times, it is used in cooking because it adds a lot of flavor to the dishes. Plus it is extremely healthy since cabbage is packed with fiber and is considered a superfood.

History Of Kapusta Kiszona 

Many people believe that Polish sauerkraut is a recipe that originated from Poland. Many others believe that it has German origin and that the recipe made it over the border and was incorporated into Polish cooking. 

The truth of the matter is that sauerkraut was not a European dish to begin with. Fermentation of food was practiced in China way back in the 7th century. This was when the Great Wall was being built so it gives you perspective on how old the method of cooking really is. The Tartars brought this method of cooking to Europe and sauerkraut is one of the recipes that came with them.

How To Eat Polish Sauerkraut?

As mentioned before, Polish sauerkraut is a versatile dish. It can be eaten on its own or alongside other dishes. It can also be used as a base for a dish. The sauerkraut can be eaten warm or cold. It is all based on personal preference. It also depends on what dish you serve it with. 

Here’s a video of my daughter eating homemade kapusta kiszona straight from the jar!

Best Polish Recipes With Sauerkraut

Now eating the sauerkraut as a standalone dish is something that is not uncommon. There are however a number of Polish recipes with sauerkraut in them. The tangy nature of the sauerkraut really accentuates them. Plus the cabbage is rich in fiber and makes for a great vegetable in your diet, especially during the winter months.

1. Bigos

Authentic bigos stew

Bigos are a popular stew made with a combination of sauerkraut and meat. 

It is very popular in wintertime. This is because the Polish bigos recipe uses cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and meat which are easy to obtain in winter. It is always served hot which means that it warms you up from the inside when the cold Polish winters chill you to the bone.

2. Kapusta Zasmażana – Polish Fried Cabbage

A bowl of mashed potatoes on a table.

Kapusta Zasmażana is another great way to serve up cabbage during the winter months. Now the Kapusta Zasmażana recipe can be made in two ways. You can use fresh cabbage or you can use sauerkraut. The latter is the reason why it has featured on this list of Polish recipes with sauerkraut.

If you use fresh cabbage in this recipe, the Kapusta Zasmażana will not have the sour tang that comes with the fermentation of sauerkraut. The best thing to do is to add a tbsp. of white vinegar to the recipe. This won’t give it quite the same tang but it will definitely add to the flavor.

Polish fried cabbage should always be served warm, unlike sauerkraut. This is because the recipe uses bacon and we all know that bacon tastes best hot or warm because that’s how the flavor seeps into the dish.

3. Polish Kapusta z Grochem Recipe

A bowl of white beans and sauerkraut, a classic Polish dish, on a table.

Kapusta  means cabbage and groch means beans in Polish. This Polish kapusta z grochem recipe was my grandmother’s and it is made with sauerkraut. You can used any kind of beans to make this. You can even use peas. The result is always delicious.

Unlike many of the other Polish recipes with sauerkraut that we have talked about, this is a year round recipe. During summer my grandmother used fresh cabbage. This gives the dish a nice light texture. During winter she would use sauerkraut. 

Irrespective which way you make it, you will find that the dish just requires 10 minutes of preparation time. Cooking however takes about 50 minutes. It is well worth the cooking time though because it allows the flavors to be truly released into the dish.

4. Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Kapusniak Recipe

Kapusniak soup.
Kapusniak is a sauerkraut based soup

Sauerkraut can also be used to make a delicious soup. Now there is a cool meatless sauerkraut soup recipe that you can use but traditionally  you will find that the Polish sauerkraut soup is made using either smoked or raw ribs. Smoked ribs are generally preferred because they always give the soup a better flavor.

Some people prefer the sour taste of the sauerkraut. The best way to increase the sourness of the soup is by adding in extra sauerkraut water.

This dish is best served hot with a nice thick slice of bread alongside it. You will find that it makes an extremely filling meal.

5. Christmas Sauerkraut And Mushroom Pierogi Recipe

Polish mushroom and sauerkraut pierogi on a black plate.
Pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms are the perfect Christmas dish!

Everyone knows that pierogi is the heart and soul of Polish cooking. It should not come as a surprise that sauerkraut has made its way into some of the pierogi recipes. One of the most popular of which is the Christmas sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi. The filling of this is made using onion, mushroom, butter, salt and pepper. This is then stuffed into the pierogi just like the other recipes.

Christmas sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi are traditionally served up during Wigilia. You will notice that this recipe has no meat in it. This is because most Poles are Roman Catholic and the Christmas eve dinners in the Roman Catholics traditionally do not have any meat other than fish.

6. Polish Croquette Krokiety Recipe

Fine krokiety rolls.
You can make the krokiety thin if you wish

The croquette is famous in many countries across the world. The Polish croquette however is very different from most of the other croquette recipes. They are known as krokiety in Poland.

The krokiety recipe is pretty simple. It has to be made in two parts. The stuffing mixture that is made out of sauerkraut, onions and mushrooms. The outer layer is made with a thin pancake. The pancakes are then stuffed and rolled in egg before they are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.

Krokiety are best served hot and they are well loved by adults and children alike. You will find that they are served up as snacks especially if they are made small. Some people even make a bigger version of this for a meal.

7. Polish Sauerkraut Bread Recipe

Sauerkraut is also used in baking. One very popular way is by using it in the Polish sauerkraut bread recipe. The trick is to chop the sauerkraut fine and to squeeze it well. This will remove all the extra juices from it. This step is very important because the extra juices can interfere with the consistency of the dough.

As can be imagined, Polish sauerkraut bread has a mild sour tang to it. This is quite similar (but not the same) as sourdough bread. The sauerkraut in the mixture adds a lot of fiber to the bread which makes it heavy and very filling.

8.Polish Christmas Sauerkraut And Mushroom Pie

A loaf of bread on a cutting board next to a Christmas tree, with a Polish kulebiak recipe.

Polish Christmas sauerkraut and mushroom pie or kulebiak is one of the traditional recipes that is always made during both Christmas and Easter. You will find that typical lenten food does not have meat. In Poland, sauerkraut and mushrooms are popular substitutes to meat during this time of the year. They are also easily available. Kulebiak is so popular that it has also been added to the list of traditional Polish products. 

Making kulebiak is time consuming. You need to make the dough and ensure that it rises. The filling is made with a mix of mushroom and sauerkraut. Again, remember that draining the sauerkraut is very important. The pie is then shaped and baked.

As you can see, each step takes time but the kulebiak recipe is in general very easy to make and can be mastered by anyone. 

9. Polish Sauerkraut Pies Recipe

A plate of Polish sauerkraut pies on a white plate.

Polish sauerkraut pies are little treats that are vegetarian. This is why you will find that they are very popular during Wigilia or the Christmas Eve supper where no meat is consumed. The trick to making good Polish sauerkraut pies lies in the dough. The Polish sauerkraut pie recipe uses a yeast dough. You will find that once the dough rises, it is light and easy to work with.

The dough is rolled out and then stuffed with the sauerkraut filling. The rolls are then cut and baked. You will find that the light yeasty consistency of the dough pairs extremely well with the mild tangy taste of the sauerkraut filling.

Polish sauerkraut pies are best had hot. You will find them served up as a snack even during weddings. Though sometimes you will also find meat pies being served.

10. Polish Sauerkraut Pancakes Recipe

A recipe for Polish pancakes topped with sauerkraut and served with a side of sour cream.

Fuczki or Polish sauerkraut pancakes is one of the Polish recipes with sauerkraut that you have probably never heard off. This dish isn’t popular all over Poland. It is however made in the Podkarpackie (Subcarpathia) region of the country. Now the reason why I always recommend trying the Fuczki recipe is because it is quick and easy to make, healthy and uses ingredients that are easily available and cheap. 

You will find that the these sauerkraut pancakes taste very similar to Polish potato pancakes. The difference however lies in the mild sour taste and the slight crunch that comes with the sauerkraut. While the potato pancakes are very popular, the sauerkraut pancakes are definitely much healthier.

11. Polish Cabbage And Noodles

A traditional Polish lazanki recipe featuring a bowl of sauerkraut and ham beautifully presented on a wooden cutting board.

The Polish cabbage and noodles recipe is basically a mix of sauerkraut (you can also use fresh cabbage), pasta and meat. The meat in the dish is what gives it a rich and fatty texture. The pasta or noodles on the other hand are very interesting. They are square shaped and are specially made for this dish. You will find that they are called lazanki pasta and are easily available in the stores.

Generally people use bacon for this recipe. This is because bacon is fatty and has a nice rich flavor. Smoked bacon is the most ideal for the dish though you can use any bacon you have. It is important to note that in this , the pasta is cooked separate while the bacon, onions and cabbage are cooked together. This ensures that the pasta retains its shape and doesn’t overcook.

You will find that Polish cabbage and noodles is one of the easiest Polish recipes with sauerkraut and the children love it.

12. Polish Christmas Sauerkraut With Mushrooms Recipe

Polish Christmas sauerkraut and mushrooms.
Polish Christmas sauerkraut and mushrooms!

The Polish Christmas sauerkraut with mushrooms is another popular sauerkraut recipe. It is easy to make and uses very few ingredients. Traditionally, people used wild mushrooms for the Polish Christmas sauerkraut with mushroom recipe. To get these they would forage in the forests. Nowadays you will find that people use either fresh mushrooms that they get from the store or dried mushrooms that they have stored for the season.

The sauerkraut usually has a slight sour taste to it. People who don’t like the taste will wash the sauerkraut before cooking. If you like the sour taste, make sure that you skip this step. The Polish Christmas sauerkraut with mushrooms serves as a side dish to the main meal. 

13. Polish Kapusta With Spare Ribs Recipe

Polish żeberka w kapuście dish.
Polish żeberka w kapuście is made with spare ribs

One of the popular Polish recipes with sauerkraut that is served up in winter is a combination of spare ribs and sauerkraut. This Polish Kapusta with spare ribs recipe originated from the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland.

The best way to make the ribs is to make sure that you marinate them with salt and pepper overnight. This will ensure that the ribs absorb the condiments. The next day the ribs are then sprinkled with marjoram and paprika before they are fried. Nowadays people use oil for frying but the traditional recipe uses lard for this.

The kapusta is prepared with bacon. If you don’t use bacon then lard is used in its stead. Both the kapusta and the spare ribs are rich. The sour texture of the sauerkraut really pairs well with the meat. You will find that the combination makes a rich and filling meal.

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