Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
As you might have fund in some of articles on Polish Christmas traditions (or you might simply know that fact) there should be 12 dishes served on Polish table for Christmas Eve dinner. To tell the truth, it is very hard to eat (even to try) them all! Especially that we prepare quite heavy dishes with cabbage, sauerkraut or mushrooms.
Recently I was preparing small pre-Christmas Eve dinner for my friends and decided to prepare something traditional. As some of the dishes are time taking and require a lot of space in the kitchen (that my small kitchen would not bear) I opted for sauerkraut with beans. I usually adjust the dishes to my own taste, so don’t be surprised that my recipe might differ from the one that you might hear from others.
The dish is surely very easy to prepare. It takes time but most of it is only spent on cooking the sauerkraut (that does not require our assistance).
To prepare the dish you need:
• Red beans
• Spices (salt, pepper, vegetables, oregano, basil etc.)
• Tea spoon of butter
• A little bit of sugar
• One small potato or a little bit of butter and flour
I will not tell you how much sauerkraut you need – as you will see yourself how much you will eat. You need to fill the pot (in which you will be cooking the sauerkraut) with water. It does not need to cover the whole sauerkraut and you need to make sure that you will not burn it – the sauerkraut needs to have enough water to cook (but you can always add some more).
Depending if sauerkraut is already with carrot or not, you may grate one small carrot and cook it together with sauerkraut. You can straight away add spices such as salt, pepper, oregano and basil as well as some dry vegetables (or one quarter of bullion lump).
You need it to cook it together slowly for couple of hours (it might be better to cook it for one hour one day and then the same on another day). Add a little bit of butter (as much as you can place on tea spoon) and a little bit of sugar. To make the whole dish thicker, add either small grated potato or roux (cooked mixture of butter and flour).
Add red beans at the end and cook it together for a while. I simply took the red beans from a can – therefore I did not need to cook that separately before adding to my sauerkraut (otherwise you must prepare the beans according to the recipe depending on the kind of bean you use).
If the sauerkraut you bought is very sour, you might wash it out (just by pouring out the first water you filled the pot with before cooking). If the sauerkraut is not sour enough, you might simply add some lemon juice.
I added some spices that one might find in the shop as spices for ‘bigos’. But as soon as you try your sauerkraut with beans you will know what to enhance its taste with.