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Varza Calita (Braised Sauerkraut)
From: Janis Badarau - Just outside NYC

 

This Romanian dish which may not sound too appealing, but you may also be surprised at how good it is! Nice to begin a meal, or as a side dish to pan-fried or baked tofu, or a veggie burger. (Notes: The rinsing process is important; it removes the excess vinegar and/or salt, depending on how the cabbage was pickled. Sweet paprika is the regular kind that you find in a supermarket, not the special hot Hungarian style.) About 4 servings.

  • 1 pound (about 1 deli pint) fresh sauerkraut
  • 2 Tablespoons light oil (sunflower, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce or unseasoned tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Drain the sauerkraut well of all juice. Place in a mixing bowl and cover completely in cold water. Allow to stand in the water for 30 to 40 minutes. Then place into a colander or strainer and drain very well, pressing out as much water as possible.

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sauerkraut, stirring well to coat, and sauté for about five minutes, turning frequently with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the pepper and tomato sauce or tomato juice. Stir well. Lower heat to low, cover, and braise for about 50 minutes.

Stir occasionally, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Stir in the salt and paprika, cover, and braise for another ten minutes.

Variation:

Add 1/4 cup dry white wine (preferably Romanian :-) with the salt and paprika.

Use fresh sauerkraut if possible. If you don't pickle your own cabbage, buy it from a delicatessen that prepares it fresh. For more recipes visit Our vegan recipe collection at The Cat-Tea Corner(c) at www.catteacorner.com .