This warming casserole is perfect for the wintertime, and a tribute to my Polish heritage.
I suspect it is my Polish heritage from my mother’s side of the family. Her father’s parents came over to America from Poland in the early 20th century and brought their traditional recipes for pierogis, borscht, golumki and more with them. I regularly get cravings for these foods today and find few meals more comforting. And yes, a single-pot meal of kielbasa and sauerkraut is one of those Polish favorites.
Kielbasa and sauerkraut are often combined in slow-cooker recipes, casseroles, stews and bakes. Sometimes potato is added as a starch, other times it is egg noodles. “Kapusta” is the traditional Polish or Slovak name for dishes with a sauerkraut base, which may have meat, onions, and mushrooms added to become more of what is known as Bigos.The variations on these dishes are endless, and every region and every home has their own take on a classic sauerkraut-based meal. I’ve been working on perfecting my own for some time, remembering my great-grandmother’s Polish traditions while adding my own modern variations.
Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and Potato Casserole: The Recipe
This is a pretty simple recipe to make, although it does take a number of steps and separate pans to precook the potatoes, saute the onions and meat, and then bake it all in the oven. Still, I think the work is well worth it when you’ve got a large and hearty meal to serve the family! The trickiest part is really slicing the potatoes thin enough – or boiling them long enough first – so that they don’t take too long in the oven to finish off. You might find it a good idea to start the baking process by covering the pan lightly with foil, then removing the foil for the last 30 minutes to crisp up the top without burning or over-browning it.
- Prep time: 40 min
- Cook time: 1 hour 20 min
- Ready in: 2 hours
- Yields: 8
- 1 lb Polish Kielbasa Sausage – sliced on a bias
- 2 lb deli sauerkraut (not canned) – do not drain juice
- 1 medium onion – sliced into rings
- 2 gloves garlic – minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper – diced
- 3 -4 white potatoes
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup shredded cheese (Gouda or Cheddar work well)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup white wine or beer
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
First I like to prep my vegetables so they will be ready to cook when I need them.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 3 quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Wash and scrub the potatoes. I like to leave the skins on instead of peeling but that is your choice. Cook the potatoes for 5-6 minutes in boiling water. Drain and chill in ice water until ready to proceed.
Meanwhile, heat remaining butter in saute pan. Add onions and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until softened and the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the red pepper and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove vegetables from pan. Add sliced kielbasa, increase heat, and brown slices quickly for 2-3 minutes.
Slice potatoes reasonably thinly and add to sauteed vegetables and kielbasa. Mix in mustard and sauerkraut until well combined.
Pour mixture into the greased baking dish and add wine or beer. Top with salt, pepper, cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake until potatoes are cooked through and casserole is done, about 60 minutes. Test potatoes while cooking for tenderness, as it could take a little longer depending on your oven and the thickness of your potato slices.
Serve and enjoy!