Thanks for the cabbage

We’ve encountered sauerkraut in all the usual places: a memorable, heart busting triple sausages and ham platterful in Strasbourg (of course) where they manged to serve their traditional dish with some subtlety and well as monstrous portions; then there were the barrels of dozens of different ones at the Christmas market, we think it was Baden Baden, but it could have just as easily been anywhere in Alsace or southern Germany; and then the famous Eisbahn, eaten this time in Berlin where there idea of a piece of ham seemed to include best part of a leg, for one of course.
Thanks to the Polish invasion, the base ingredient – the pickled cabbage – comes in giant jars from Asda, well the firm is Krakus who do all sorts of marvelous things in jars. The problem then, to recreate the idea of lots of tastes of porky things, without going over the top, and encouraging heart attacks.
The first trick is to extract the cabbage – you need about half a large (900 gm) jar for two, but it’s packed in solid. I used a fork to start with, then my hands. As you pull the cabbage out, carefully pull it into its shreds, if you don’t you’ll just have an indigestible lump. Put into a large bowl with some crumpled bay leaves, some juniper berries and a real crunch of pepper. At this point I also added the last chunk of the home cooked ham diced into bite sized bits. Give everything a good mix by hand and cover.
At this point a pack of tasty sausages went in the oven to cook: flavour is what we’re after and if you’re cooking for more than two then a couple of kinds won’t go wrong either. If you want a kick a piece of chorizo would be good.
The last taste was going to come from some bacon – in this case unsmoked cubes gently cooked off in a non stick pan, but again anything goes.
Once the sausages were well cooked and sticky the cabbage, well infused with its herbs by now, goes in the microwave. Give a stir halfway through. Then assemble by stirring in the hot bacon bits (and yes, the flavoursome fat ..) distributing on plates and adding the sausages.
Traditionally the only extras are steamed potatoes, plain as they come, and mustard. There’s a very nice mustard and horseradish courtesy of the Poles’ too, so try it for a change.