Thursday, January 1, 2009

Joey's Hot Dogs and Applekraut

In the Quaile family, New Year's Day means one thing. The Mummers Parade! For those of you who may not know, this is a yearly Philadelphia tradition that can best be compared to Mardi Gras. My Father has been a Mummer since he was 13 years old, and nearly all of my siblings have been involved with the Mummers Parade at one time or another. It's a HUGE event!
When we were little, we always went to my grandparents' house in South Philly. My Mom would always bundle everyone up and off to the parade we'd go. There was always the huge pot of Mom's Vegetable Soup, and lots of hot dogs and sauerkraut. It was the best thing to warm you up and fill your belly after standing outside in the cold weather watching the parade go by.
As much as I love sauerkraut, I think that it's sometimes a little bit too sour, which can be a little harsh and overpowering. So I came up with this recipe and this is how I've made it ever since. It has a little bit of sweet to balance with the sour, and just the perfect amount of crunch. If you're on the fence about whether or not you like sauerkraut, try my applekraut. It's REALLY tasty!!

1 stick of butter
1 small onion
2 Macintosh apples
3 ribs of celery, with the leaves
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 32oz bag (or 2 16oz cans) sauerkraut
8 hot dogs

Heat oven to 350F.
In a large pot, melt butter. Finely chop the onion, apples (no need to peel them!) and celery. Saute in melted butter over medium heat until soft, then add the brown sugar. Let it cook a minute or two longer, just until the sugar is melted and caramelized. Meanwhile, place sauerkraut in a colander and rinse under running cold water. Drain well and add it to the pot. Stir until well combined. Pour everything into a 9x13x2 baking dish. Place the hot dogs on top, making sure to push them down into the sauerkraut as much as possible. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve on hot dog buns with ketchup and/or mustard and a little sweet relish.

Be sure to rinse the sauerkraut and drain it very well. This step is key to making it a little less harsh. Also, make sure you add the celery leaves. This helps to make it more pleasing to your nose, as well as your taste buds.
This recipe also works beautifully with pork chops. Just leave it in the oven for a while longer, until the pork chops are done.

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