This recipe for German Sauerkraut with Pineapple (Ananas Sauerkraut) will bring a bit of sunshine to a gray, winter day. It is typical of the sweet-sour flavors Germans love. Often served with a ham steak called Kasseler, you can serve sauerkraut with pineapple with whatever meat or poultry heart desires or anytime you have a taste for sauerkraut.
Empty the can or jar of sauerkraut into a sieve, taste it and wash off some of the salt brine if necessary. Different manufacturers have different salt levels. Pick the sauerkraut apart a bit with a fork.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon lard or oil. Add 1 heaping tablespoon sugar and let it caramelize to a light brown.
Add the drained sauerkraut, 1 cup apple or pineapple juice and 5 juniper berries and heat to a simmer.
Cut 2 slices fresh or canned pineapple into small dice (or use pineapple tidbits).
After the sauerkraut has cooked for about 15 minutes, add the pineapple pieces. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix the cornstarch with some of the cooking juices, stirring thoroughly. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauerkraut and combine completely. Bring it to a boil and when it thickens, serve.
This sauerkraut side dish is usually served with Kasseler and potatoes.
If you are using canned pineapple, by all means, use the pineapple juice from the can instead of apple juice.
Sauerkraut in German Cooking
The word sauerkraut is German for "sour cabbage" but Germans can't lay claim to its invention. Laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago are known to have fermented shredded cabbage in rice wine as a food source for the lean times. It showed up in Europe 1,000 years later.
The preservation technique went from rice wine to salt in the 16th century when the Germanic peoples began dry curing cabbage with salt. The process remains essentially the same today. Early German and Dutch settlers brought their recipes for sauerkraut to the Americas along with a New Year's Day meal tradition -- eating pork and sauerkraut for good luck in the coming year. Here are more German sauerkraut recipes.