Category Archives: Food

Beyond Brats: Krakauer Wurst, Versatile German Sausage

Krakauer Sausage

Krakauer / Krakow Sausage wrapping

The name gives away that fact that although Krakauer is classified as a German sausage, its roots are in Krakow, Poland. Krakauer can also be called Kawassy. As with the other sausages we have looked at (Weisswurst, Gelbwurst) the ingredients and look of the sausage may vary according to its origin. I have found pictures of long skinny sausages, and fatter rolls meant to slice for lunch meat or thickly sliced, fry quickly.  I had that second kind.

Krakauer sausage ingredients

Krakauer sausage ingredients–pork, beef, salt and garlic. “Spices” probably include pepper and nutmeg.

The sausage is traditionally 80% pork and 20% beef, and is smoked, boiled and smoked again before going to the market. One site described it as “bolder than bologna.”  I definitely liked this one–either as a cold cut or fried and found various uses for it.

Krakauer cold cuts

Krakauer sliced for cold cuts

[A site in German says that if sausage contains nitrite it is actually dangerous to grill it, as the high heat turns the nitrite salts into a carcinogenic. I had never seen that before, and interesting thing to learn.]

First, we had it for dinner.  After I browned the sausage in some vegetable oil, I stirred cubed beets into the grease and sprinkled it with nutmeg.  I also fried some potatoes.

Krakauer Wurst dinner

Krakauer Wurst dinner with sauteed beets and fried potatoes.

The next morning, I diced some of the sausage and stirred it into pieces of the left over fried potatoes–sautéed it and mixed in an egg. Yummy.

A couple days later, I boiled some greens (I had kale and beet greens on hand). I browned cubes of the sausage in a little vegetable oil. when the greens were tender (less than 10 minutes), I stirred them in with the sausage cubes and we had another twist on Krakauer sausage.

Krakauer/Krakow/Kawassy–whatever you want to call it–this sausage has climbed to the top of my favorites.

Zingy Krautsuppe: German Cabbage Soup

I love making soup, and this adaptable variation on a traditional German cabbage soup manages to pay tribute to the German ancestors while cleaning out my refrigerator at the same time.

Cabbage soup

Cabbage soup cooking

I will give you a recipe, but please don’t feel bound by anything you see.  Well, except the cabbage and the vinegar and caraway, because that puts the ZING in this Zingy soup.

I used pieces of bacon and some leftover cooked ham.  Browning the vegetables in the bacon grease adds depth to their flavor.

cabbage soup in bowl closeup

A bit of vinegar makes your vegetables zippier.

And caraway gives this soup a unique flavor.

Zingy German Cabbage Soup

Serves 6-8
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 35 minutes
Meal type Soup
Misc Serve Hot
Region German

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cabbage (chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 Bell pepper (red or green, chopped)
  • 1 large potato (cubed)
  • 3 rashers of bacon (cut in 1)
  • 2 cups cooked ham (cubed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6-8 cups broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Directions

1. Brown the bacon pieces in soup pot . Add ham cubes and stir to brown slightly. Take meat out of pan, but leave bacon grease.
2. Add chopped carrots and celery and pepper and potato and stir to brown and slightly soft. Add cabbage and continue to stir until cabbage gets a bit soft.
3. Add broth and meat, vinegar and caraway, and stir to combine.
4. Simmer for an hour or more.
5. Serve with dark or rye bread. Store leftovers in glass jars in refrigerator for up to a week. (One quart makes two large servings.)

Note

I did not add salt because the ham and bacon added enough salt.  You might make it with ground beef, in which case you probably would want to add salt.

The soup can be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth and no meat.

I used a sweet potato instead of a regular white potato.

If your potatoes are thin-skinned and organic, don't bother to peel.

I did not add onions, but leeks or onions can also be added. In fact feel free to use whatever vegetables you want.  The recipe is very adaptable.

 

Gelbwurst – Beyond Brats, German Sausage #2

Today we’ll take a look at Gelbwurst, a lemon-flavored sausage that you usually serve cold.

Gelbwurst outside

Gelbwurst package

I started the series on German Sausages when I saw a sign in a nearby butcher shop/deli advertising a dozen or more types of German Sausages.  I only recognized one or two of them.  With all those German Ancestors, I thought it was time for me to learn. You can see the first sausage, Weisswurst, here.

What Goes In To Gelbwurst

My ignorance of sausages showed when I pulled the sausage out of the freezer, ready to cook it for dinner, and discovered you don’t cook Gelbwurst. Instead, this sausage falls into the same category as bologna. Like bologna, you can fry slices if you wish, so we tried it both uncooked and fried. In either case, remove the yellow-colored casing before eating.

The name means yellow (golden) sausage.  Various meats may go into Gelbwurst. The ingredients can include pork and bacon. Mine had Veal with several seasonings, perhaps nutmeg, pepper and ginger but definitely including the most usual flavoring– lemon.

ALIAS

Like the Weisswurst I talked about earlier, Gelbwurst originated in Bavaria–the home of some of my German ancestors. According to this web site, in Bavaria it might be known as Kalbskäse or Weser Fleishkäse or Breganwurst in Northern Germany. If you saw the alternate name, Hirnwurst, it would mean made the old way with up to 25% pig brains, but brains are no longer considered a safe ingredient for making sausage. Yet, according to Wikipedia, the name Hirnwurst survives.

Gelbwurst

Gelbwurst ingredients

Do you want to make your own Gelbwurst? Follow the link.

A Short Life

The traditional casing was pig’s intestine died yellow, but nowadays it comes in an artificial casing–also yellow.  The sausage itself is a pale gray instead of pink because it has no nitrates. That makes it healthier than some sausages and cold cuts, however it also means it will not stay edible as long.  One website recommends eating it within two days of purchase.

In fact, my Gelbwurst began to smell a little “off” after two days out of the freezer.  Since we bought an uncut, frozen package rather than having a butcher slice some off a fresh loaf, we had more than we needed for one meal.  We ate it for dinner one night, breakfast and  lunch the next day and still had a bit to discard.

Gelbwurst for dinner

Gelbwurst for dinner with rye bread, hash brown potatoes and salad.

Sheerly a matter of taste, of course, but we preferred it fried on rye bread with a bit of old fashioned, seed-filled German mustard. In the picture above, we were eating it cold on rye bread–also good.