A couple of weeks ago I was planning my menu for one of the soup kitchens where I am a volunteer cook. We do not always have the luxury of purchasing all of our ingredients; most times we have to work with what has been donated. We were given a large amount of Bratwurst, so I needed to make a complimentary side dish. I thought I should serve sauerkraut but I wanted to make it different. I came up with the following recipe and it was a big hit. I have scaled it down to the home kitchen and it has become one of my favorite dishes. This dish will go well with hot dogs, sausages, roast pork or anything you would normally serve with sauerkraut. The secret is in the caramelized onions; their sweetness contrasts the tartness of the sauerkraut.
SAUERKRAUT AND RICE BAKE
5-6 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
1 stick butter
2-teaspoons thyme OR 1-Tablespoon fresh thyme
2-Tablespoons caraway seeds
2-cups uncooked rice will yield 4-5 cups cooked rice
2-14/16oz. cans Sauerkraut, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the rice using a rice cooker or on top of the stove. Use two (2) cups of raw rice to four (4) cups of salted water. Using a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven melt the stick of butter add the sliced onions and continue to cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until onions have turned a deep golden brown. This will take at least 20 minutes. Add the sugar, thyme and caraway seeds. Mix well and continue to cook another minute or two until the sugar is dissolved.
In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, onions and canned sauerkraut. Place mixture in a 9x13 casserole dish, dot lightly with butter and bake in 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until heated throughout and top is slightly browned. If you like, you can top the casserole with some chopped bacon and parsley.
If you are making this for 25-30 people here are the proportions and they can be doubled. This makes enough for one (1) deep steam table tray.
5 pounds of onions, caramelized
1/4-cup of caraway seeds
1-Tablespoon dried thyme
1 #10 can sauerkraut, drained
12-cups of cooked rice
Proceed as in above recipe.
If you need a starch and a vegetable to round out your meal this casserole should be your choice. This serves six but I almost always double the recipe. It can be put together the day before then baked or bake and freeze for later. The flavors go together so well and the added cheese will make anyone eat their spinach.
GREEN AND YELLOW RICE
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1-Cup COOKED rice
1/4-Cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
4 eggs, beaten
1 lb. yellow cheddar cheese, grated
1-Cup half and half or milk
1-Tablespoon minced onion
1/2-teaspoon EACH of marjoram, thyme and rosemary
You are going to love this--------mix everything together and bake in a 2-quart casserole at 350° for 30 minutes.
I had quite a few Yukon Gold potatoes (from my son's garden) so I created what I call Individual Potato Tarts. It took me a little longer to put this together since I was working with my box grater. Cut your time with the shredder attachment on a food processor if available. These little tarts can be made ahead, frozen and reheat beautifully in a 350° just wrapped in foil. The recipe will make 16-20 tarts depending on the size of your potatoes. Be a little more creative and top the tarts with some shredded cheddar cheese half way through the baking. These are great served with any roasts. You can half this recipe.
INDIVIDUAL POTATO TARTS
12-medium Yukon Gold potatoes
2-medium onions, Vidalia
4-eggs, well beaten
1-teaspoon baking powder
Pepper to taste
1-Tablespoon dried rosemary (optional)
Sour cream, plain or mixed with chives for topping
Spray muffin pans with Pam, set aside. Preheat oven to 375° Peel and grate your potatoes and onions and let rest in a colander until most of the moisture drips away, about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, beat eggs add flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and rosemary. Add shredded onions and potatoes and mix thoroughly. Spoon into muffin cups filling to the top and bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan by running a knife around the edges. Serve alone or with a dollop of sour cream.