Old Country Comfort Food

Sausage Meatballs and Sauerkraut

  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (or all-purpose if not GF)
  • 1 quart sauerkraut**

Bring sauerkraut to a boil in a wide pan. Mix sausage, eggs, onion, rice and flour all together. (I use my hands, pretty squishy, but it seems to work the best). Make a well in the sauerkraut for each meatball (4-6). Form meat mixture into balls*. Put each meatball into a separate cavity and lower heat. Simmer covered for about an hour.

Serve with green beans topped with fresh grated nutmeg and appelmoes (applesauce).

*They will not be firm! These are not like Italian meatballs that can be made and put on a cookie sheet. Pretty much, get a handful of the mix and plop it into the sauerkraut.
**I bought Saverne Artisanal Kraut in Garlic and Dill flavor. Two, one pound bags will get a quart of sauerkraut. As in any recipe the ingredients will change the recipe. You can make this with Jimmy Dean sausage and Vlasic sauerkraut. That would not be my recommendation, but it would work. The Saverne Kraut was pretty yummy. The garlic and dill weren’t too strong, in fact I might add garlic and dill to the recipe next time.
This picture only has half the amount of sauerkraut called for in the recipe. It should cover at least half of your meatballs, but if I took the picture that way you wouldn’t be able to see the meatballs.

Where do our comfort foods come from? We all have different comfort foods that depend on where your family came from or where you grew up.  Perhaps there is an emotion or memory tied to a certain food. Today I’m making “Meatballs and Kraut” or Pork Sausage Meatballs and Sauerkraut. I didn’t particularly care for this dish when I was a small child, but as I got older I began to crave it. It was one of the recipes I learned as teenager. I remember a small cooking disaster when my sister and I burnt the sauerkraut. That was bad. Don’t do that. The smell will haunt you (and your kitchen).

When I was little we would buy a 4-H hog and have it butchered by a German butcher. Not that my mother was looking for a German butcher, the best local butcher just happened to be German. Anyway, the sausage he made was not too spicy, but was very garlicky and it was perfect for these meatballs.

I want this recipe to be from my great-grandmother. Something her mother made on cold rainy days in the Netherlands. It could be from my Dutch family. BUT if my mom was alive and I asked her about it, she might say “Oh, I got that from a Better Homes and Garden’s magazine”. Either way, this is my perfect winter comfort food.

My husband also loves Meatballs and Kraut. He says the meatballs remind him of boudin; a definite comfort food for Louisianans.  He likes to add a little spice to his and that is fine with me. It’s pretty amazing that this Northern European style meal can comfort a Dutch Oregonian and a Japanese Louisianan. Ah, food, you surprise me again.



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