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One of the classic Latvian side dishes that can be found at any family event or gathering is sauerkraut or skābie kāposti. Not the slimy, bright yellow, raw stuff found in a can and unceremoniously slathered on a hotdog bun (though this version is absolutely stellar when served with brats). This version is lovingly stewed for hours and combined with brown sugar and bacon for a sweet ‘n’ sour ‘n’ savory delicious dish. There are many different varieties and recipes for this Latvian staple, but here is my grandma’s recipe that was passed down to my mom and then to me. Hope you enjoy!
28 oz finely shredded sauerkraut
2 apples, diced
2 bay leaves
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
4 TBSP brown sugar
1 package of bacon, cooked and crumbled
pepper to taste
Drain sauerkraut and set aside liquid. Crisp bacon and save the drippings. Take handfuls of drained sauerkraut and fry in the hot bacon drippings until the edges are slightly browned. Combined cooked sauerkraut, onion, apples, caraway seeds and sugar in large pot. Add water until just barely covering the mixture. Bring to a boil; then lower heat and simmer for 2.5-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more sugar as needed, gradually, while sauerkraut is cooking, tasting often. End result should be pleasantly sweet-sour, but not overly sweet.
Note: The more the sauerkraut is re-heated the better it gets. It is recommended to make it several days prior to serving and keeping refrigerated in the mean time.