Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saurkraut Balls


   These are a holiday tradition in my family.  We never make them before Thanksgiving and usually make 2-3 batches before Christmas comes around.  Sauerkraut balls sound disgusting, I know.  I am not a big fan of sauerkraut, it's fine for cooking pork or sausages in but I never really want to eat it.  Which is why I never ate these little treats until I was 10 or 11.  Everyone looked like they were enjoying them so much that I decided to give it a go.  The worst that could happen was it tasted bad.  But they don't taste bad; not by a long shot!  The sauerkraut is mellowed out by the sausage and mustard to an almost unrecognizable form.  It is magic.  And that is why we make several batches before Christmas.  People in the neighborhood will invite my parents to holiday parties and specifically request that they bring a platter of sauerkraut balls.  That may be the only reason they are even invited to parties... just kidding.  They are lovely people.

   Sauerkraut balls are much more popular in the Germanic dominated regions of the US.  In the South, the Germans are scattered around too much for any of the food to gain a really strong foothold.  Mainly, Pennsylvania is where you find them.  I am half German and was born in Pennsylvania... so, go figure.   They are the perfect New Year's Eve party hor d'ouerve (assuming you have friends who are slightly adventurous with their food.)
Sauerkraut Balls
1 lb breakfast sausage (we prefer hot)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 14 oz can sauerkraur, well drained
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp deli mustard (we use horseradish deli mustard)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp thyme
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
~ 1 C Italian seasoned bread crumbs
~ 1/2 C flour
oil for frying

   Cook sausage and break it up into little pieces while cooking.  Drain off most of the fat.  Add onion and garlic to pan.  Cook with the sausage until onions are tender.  Set aside to cool.
   Mix sauerkraut, cream cheese, mustard, thyme and Worcestershire together.  Add sausage mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
   Form mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Dust in flour.  Coat in egg wash (egg beaten with water).  Roll in bread crumbs.  In a deep fryer at 350 deg F (fry daddy, heavy pot with ~3 inch oil, whatever you use to deep fry), fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.  Drain on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
   Makes about 2 dozen.
NOTE:  These freeze amazingly well!  Once fried and completely cool, just put them in a large freezer bag.  They will keep in your freezer for 6 months.  To reheat, place in a 400 deg F over for about 20 minutes.  You'll know they are done when the bottom sizzles.

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