This is a great recipe for the winter - lots of flavor! It may sound and look like a rich, heavy meal, but it is surprisingly light, and is actually based on an old "Weight Watchers" recipe! No need to serve anything on the side - it is a multi-layer "one pan" meal. On several occasions, I have eaten half the dish all by myself (OK, I was stuffed for two days).
- Preparation time: 45 minutes
- Cooking time: 45 minutes
- Baking time: 50-60 minutes
- Makes 6 servings.
- Freezes well.
Latest update: 12 January 2020
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- 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) sauerkraut
- Weight is "drained"
- Save yourself some time, and buy cooked kraut - "plain/natural" or "white wine" (in a jar, a pouch, or bulk); if it has pieces of bacon in it, remove them!
- 400 grams (almost 1 lb) yellow onions, peeled, woody part of the cores removed, finely diced
- Dicing takes 2 seconds in a food processor
- 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) ground beef
- Use lean beef: 5% fat - don't waste your money on water and fat of higher % ground beef
- "Instant" mashed potatoes - a standard 125 grams (4.5 oz) pouch is more than enough
- 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) of apples (3 medium size apples)
- Weight is before peeling and coring
- 225 grams (1/2 lb) raisins
- I prefer Thompson raisins (a sultana variety). No need to soak them: they will plump up during the baking.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground preferred)
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons of "hot" curry powder (if you're a wimp, use "regular")
- This may seem like a lot, but it will get absorbed just fine, and in the baked dish, you will only taste a hint of it.
- 3-4 tablespoons butter (2 tablespoons for cooking the onions, 1-2 to put on top of the mashed potatoes)
- No salt required - sauerkraut normally has enough salt for the entire dish, all by itself.
Ground beef, chopped onions, raisins
EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
- Large frying pan
- Oven dish
- Wooden spatula
- Optional: food processor (for chopping the onions)
- Medium size sauce pan
- Large bowl
- Medium size bowl
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Large oven-proof dish (I use an oval dish of about 30x20x5 cm, 12x8x2 inch)
- Use a clear glass dish, so you can see when the juices are boiling at least half way up the side of the dish
PREPARATION / DIRECTIONS
- Cook the sauerkraut in water (with 1 tablespoon of the curry powder) until almost done
- Use enough water to almost cover the kraut; stir in the tablespoon of curry powder
- If you bought cooked kraut, just bring the water to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Cook the ground beef while loosening with a fork or wooden spatula
- Do not add butter or oil to the pan - even lean ground beef has more than enough fat of its own! Pour off excess water.
- When the beef is all loosened up and cooked, stir in 2 tablespoons of the curry powder, then take off the heat and set aside
- Finely chop the onions, with a knife or a kitchen machine
- Slowly cook the chopped onions in butter until translucent - do not fry until brown! When the onion is soft and done (15 minutes), mix-in the last tablespoon of curry powder and stir
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F)
- In a large bowl, mix the cooked beef and onions
- Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then coarsely grate them in the food processor (or use a vegetable grater)
- Don't put the apple chunks in the food processor all at once: part of the apple will get very finely chopped or even pureed, whereas some larger chunks will not get cut up at all.
- In a medium size bowl, mix the apples and the raisins.
Curried ground beef & onions, apples & raisins
- Drain the sauerkraut in a fine-mesh sieve
- You will have to squeeze the kraut (or push down on it with a spatula or the bottom of a coffee cup) to get most of the water out
- Build alternating layers until the oven dish almost filled:
- One layer of the ground beef & onion mix (half of the mix) - spread out evenly and all the way up against the inside of the dish.
- Cover with a layer of apple & raisins mix (half of the mix)
- Cover with a layer of sauerkraut (half of the kraut); you will have to pull the kraut apart to be able to drape all over the previous layer
- Make the mashed potatoes per the instructions on the package (typically with boiling water + milk)
- I mix the garlic and nutmeg into the water-milk mix, or after the mash is done.
- If the instructions call for letting the mash rest for 5 minutes: do so! Otherwise it will be much to liquid for spreading on top of the sauerkraut!
- Cover the oven dish with mashed potatoes, and smoothen the top with a large knife
- You may not need all of the puree...
- Put some teaspoon-size pieces of butter spread out over the top, and push them into the mashed potatoes a little bit.
- Alternatively: instead of butter, spray the entire top with cooking spray (USA: e.g., "PAM" brand, which is canola oil = rapeseed oil)
- Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes
- The juices that collect at the bottom of the dish should be boiling for at least 10 minutes
- The top of the mashed potatoes will turn golden brown
Layer of ground beef & onions (left), and layer of apples & raisins
Layer of sauerkraut (left) and final layer - mashed potatoes
The dish - ready to go into the oven
Clean-up done, while the dish is in the oven
SERVING & GARNISH SUGGESTIONS
- Serve with chilled dry white wine or beer
- The complete dish can be prepared ahead of time. However, when the uncooked dish is cold, it will take much longer to cook! Straight out of the refrigerator (e.g., leftovers) : at least 1 hour at 175 °C (350 °F)