Fran Klees from Dowagiac, Mich., was looking for a recipe for Polish sauerkraut and sausage that contains vinegar and sugar as well as other traditional seasonings and is made in a slow cooker.
I was a little surprised that I didn't receive any responses from readers to Klees' request, but with a little research I had no trouble finding several recipes that fit the bill. I decided to test a recipe from a food blog called Foodie Smash, written by Ashlee Warzin from El Paso, Texas. Warzin told me she came up with this particular recipe — as she does most of the recipes she shares on her blog — by doing some research on what she wants to make and then picking and choosing from multiple sources to create her own version. "I think this recipe may have been a adaptation from one in Real Simple magazine and my classic Betty Crocker cookbook," she said. "Plus just knowing common Eastern European ingredient combos from living in Chicago's Ukrainian Village for a while." Warzin said she was inspired to make this dish because her now-husband was craving a Polish-style meal complete with potato pancakes. That is why she lists the potatoes as an optional ingredient, in case you prefer to serve the sausage and sauerkraut with potato pancakes or mashed potatoes.
This is one of those hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type of dishes. Thanks to this slow-cooker method, you can put it together in the morning and go off for the day and forget about it. You'll come home to a complete meal ready to serve and sure to please.
Henry Herr from Reisterstown said that years ago there was a Harley sandwich shop on Holabird Avenue that had the best barbecue sub. He said he is still craving the taste several decades after the local shop closed, and he is hoping someone might be able to share Harley's recipe.
Michelle McManus from Pine Grove, Pa., is searching for the recipe for the elephant ears — a flat, very crisp pastry with a sugary crunch that was as big as a dinner plate — that used to be served at the Crossroads Cafe in Grantville, Pa. She said the restaurant changed hands several years ago and she has never been able to find a recipe that even comes close to the one that was served there.
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Slow-cooker Polish sausage and sauerkraut
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 32-ounce jar sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon caraway seed
2 14-ounce packages Polish or smoked sausage
2 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 slices bacon, cooked and diced
3-4 potatoes, diced (optional)
Turn slow cooker on low. Add drained sauerkraut, vinegar, chicken broth, mustard, horseradish, paprika and caraway seed.
While sauerkraut is marinating in the crock-pot, start cooking the bacon. I like to cook mine on a sheet pan, in a 400-degree oven, for 10 to 12 minutes.
Slice sausage, carrots and onion and add to the slow cooker. Once bacon has finished cooking and cools for a bit, dice and add to the slow cooker. Cover and continue cooking on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Use potatoes to make potato pancakes or mashed potatoes, if desired.