Though it's called "Sauerkraut Stew", this stew can be made with fresh cabbage as well, with the flavor being slightly sweetish rather than sourish. I, personally, prefer the sourish version. As a matter of fact, I choose sauerkraut in winter and fresh cabbage in the other three seasons, but I prepare it far more frequently in winter than in any other time of year.
This stew can be made with or without meat. Both versions are common, but I like the meatless one better. I find it light but still hearty, so I hardly ever use meat. If, however, you would like to put some, I would warmly suggest ground pork/beef or some chopped smoked meat.
If you look at the ingredients list, you'll see that this stew is somewhere between the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and the Sour Cabbage Soup I posted some time ago. It's simple-to-make just like the soup, but its flavor is more similar to that of the rolls.
You can either cook this stew in the oven, or use the stovetop only. It will be equally delicious both ways.
And one more thing - you can use whole sour cabbage instead of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut can be a bit more seasoned (depending on the recipe, though most use nothing but salt), but both kinds of fermented cabbage will work just fine! There is a difference in preparation of these two, and I will soon share some recipes and hints on how to make some of your own.
And this is what you'll need:
- Chop cabbage if using whole head. Slice the carrots and finely chop the onions.
- Put oil in a pot and heat it over medium fire. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent.
- If using ground meat, add it and cook until it loses its pink color. If you chose the vegan version, just skip to the next step.
- Add carrots and rice and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Stir in cabbage and season with some salt and pepper to taste, but be careful as cabbage is already quite salted itself. Also, add paprika.
- Pour in some water, just enough to cover the vegetables. If using smoked meat, chop or slice it and add it into the pot. Simmer over medium fire until rice and carrots are done.
As you can see, this is the stovetop version which gives a stew with some juices left. However, if you wish to get a thicker stew with no extra liquid, you can cook it into the oven at 250°C for approx. 30 minutes.
Serve warm, with some roasted bread.
I would suggest you to sprinkle each serving with a pinch of red pepper flakes (mild or hot) for an extra pleasant flavor.
Enjoy and bon appétit!