Serbian Baked Sauerkraut

Serbian Baked Sauerkraut - Podvarak | All that's Jas

Need a hearty, feel-good, warming meal to help you beat the cold weather blues? This Serbian baked sauerkraut dish (aka podvarak) is simple, nourishing, and delicious comfort food.

 

 This Serbian baked sauerkraut dish (aka podvarak) with smoked turkey legs is simple, nourishing, and delicious comfort food.

 

When the weather is cold, and it’s been really cold here (-29F), nothing quite hits the spot like hearty food.  Baked sauerkraut is my favorite winter dish and it’s healthy for you too. Nutritionists recommend eating something fermented every day. Fermented grapes that come in a bottle don’t count. 😉

 

Popular across Balkans, this Serbian-style sauerkraut is first sautéed then combined with meat and baked in an oven until almost caramelized. Meat is usually smoked turkey or pork, but roasted pork or chicken can be used as well.

 

One batch is pretty large, so it’s budget friendly too. It easily freezes and makes a perfect choice for busy weeknight dinners. It is traditionally served with delicious caramelized onion mashed potatoes, but it is also great with classic mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.

 

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SAUERKRAUT IN A JAR:

 

  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt per head of cabbage
  • Clean glass jar (use one average head of cabbage per quart-sized mason jar)
  • Extra brine, if needed: 1 additional tablespoon of sea salt and 4 cups non-chlorinated water

 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, work the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them tightly into the canning jar. Add any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.
  3. Cover the exposed cabbage with brine, leaving 1-inch of headspace at the top. If you are having troubles with the cabbage floating to the top, weigh it down with a glass weight, or cover with a larger outer leaf. You can even wedge a piece of the cabbage core on top to hold it down.
  4. Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine.
  5. Set aside in a room-temperature location, out of direct sunlight, for at least one week. If after 24 hours the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, add more brine.
  6. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
  7. If you see bubbles coming through the cabbage, while it’s fermenting and foam on the top or white scum, don’t worry. These are all signs of a good fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating.

 

Fermenting large amounts of cabbage (both whole heads and shredded) was and still is a tradition in many European countries. I often helped mom with the coring and slicing of the cabbage. Cured/fermented cabbage would last us all winter long and well into the spring. We used leaves to make stuffed cabbage rolls and shredded cabbage to make sauerkraut soup or casseroles like this one.

 

Sauerkraut makes a great side salad too. Just add some freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon oil to a cup of sauerkraut and enjoy! Your gut will thank you. You should eat something fermented every day, and homemade sauerkraut is the best choice in my book!

 

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Serbian Baked Sauerkraut Recipe

Serbian baked #sauerkraut is a #hearty, feel-good, #nourishing meal to help you beat the cold weather blues. #podvarak #Serbian #maindish #smokedturkey Click To Tweet

 

Smoked turkey and baked sauerkraut Serbian-style

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon pork lard or oil
  • 5 ounces bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 jar (32 oz.) sauerkraut
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 pound smoked turkey or pork

 

~ Free Tip ~

For best flavor, bake in a clay pot or roasting pan.

 

ESSENTIALS

for Serbian Baked Sauerkraut


 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drain sauerkraut in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
  3. Heat the lard or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and bacon and sauté until onions are golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic, carrots, sauerkraut, bay leaves, pepper, and paprika. Continue browning, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a baking dish. Place smoked or roasted meat on top of sauerkraut. Add 1 cup water and cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaves before serving.
Before and after baking the sauerkraut

before and after baking

Delicious Serbian baked sauerkraut aka podvarak recipe

5 from 4 votes
Serbian-style baked sauerkraut with smoked turkey
Serbian Baked Sauerkraut - Podvarak
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 50 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins
 

This Serbian baked sauerkraut dish (aka podvarak) with smoked turkey legs is simple, nourishing, and delicious comfort food.

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Serbian
Servings: 8
Author: Jas
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoon pork lard or oil
  • 5 ounces bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 1 jar 32 oz. sauerkraut
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 pound smoked turkey or pork
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drain sauerkraut in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.

  3. Heat the lard or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and bacon and sauté until onions are golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic, carrots, sauerkraut, bay leaves, pepper, and paprika. Continue browning, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a baking dish. Place smoked or roasted meat on top of sauerkraut. Add 1 cup water and cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaves before serving.
Recipe Notes

~ Free Tip ~

For best flavor, bake in a clay pot or roasting pan.

Pin it now: Serbian Baked Sauerkraut

This Serbian Podvarak recipe is baked sauerkraut with smoked turkey legs. It is simple and favorite winter dish that is made by sautéing sauerkraut with onions, bacon, carrots, and garlic and then combined with meat and baked in oven until caramelized. | allthatsjas.com | #glutenfree #keto #paleo #sauerkraut #maindish #serbianfood #podvarak #winterdish #kiselikupus

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Jas

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Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates or purchase the full version below. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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22 Comment

  1. Reply
    Milena
    January 9, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Love this dish! In Bulgaria growing up my grandma used to make me something similar with pork (Svinsko s Kiselo Zele na Furna) and your dish brings back memories, I could start crying right now. I love that the turkey is smoked. So good. Pinned. Nazdrave!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Awe, food always brings back the best memories. I didn’t realize that the Bulgarian language has similarities with ours. We call it Svinjetina i Kiseli Kupus (or Zelje) iz Rerne but have also adapted Serbian name Podvarak. Nazdravlje, Milena! <3

  2. Reply
    lisa
    January 11, 2018 at 8:07 am

    We make homemade sauerkraut, and smoke a lot of meats, so we will definitely be trying this recipe. It looks scrumptious! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Homemade is the best! This recipe tastes even better then. We used to make our own sauerkraut and smoked meat back in my homeland. I miss those days. 🙁

  3. Reply
    Jann Olson
    January 18, 2018 at 12:05 am

    We smoke a lot of meat and I love sauerkraut. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 18, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Mmm, home-smoked meat is the best! Enjoy!

  4. Reply
    Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food
    January 18, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Ahhh, yes: here’s that recipe you teased us with on Facebook a while back with that super-cute video! (Speaking of which, where is said super-cute video?) 😉
    Seriously, tho: I love the sauerkraut paired with smoked meats—this sounds so delicious and cozy!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! That video was an embarrassment, so it should live on FB, ha! Have a super rest of the week!

  5. Reply
    a spirit of simplicity
    January 19, 2018 at 5:59 am

    I’m going to try this next week.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm

      Awesome! Let me know how you like it 😀

  6. Reply
    Michelle Leslie
    January 20, 2018 at 12:07 am

    My German roots are doing funny little happy dance tight now Jas. I can remember my Mom making something very similar when we were small. I think she added Eisbien, and it was always such a delicious treat when she made it. I’m not sure if she baked it though. I’ll have to ask her, maybe she’ll make another batch using your recipe. I sure hope so

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 21, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Germans don’t bake theirs, but I have eaten many Eisbeins when I lived there and love it equally so. It’s such a good comfort food. 🙂

  7. Reply
    Judith Graber
    January 20, 2018 at 6:39 am

    I love sauerkraut and your recipe is similar to mine. I use to grow lots of cabbage and make my own sauerkraut – now that was good! Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday and don’t forget to link to the party 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      I grew up eating homemade sauerkraut and smoked meat, so I know that nothing compares. 🙂

  8. Reply
    Lily
    January 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I love one-pan meals and this one looks especially hearty and feel-good for the whole family. Thanks for sharing and keep warm!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 21, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you! Hope your weekend was lovely.

  9. Reply
    Miz Helen
    January 20, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I can’t wait to try this dish, I love anything that has Sauerkraut. This is a beautiful dish with the Smoked Turkey Legs. Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      I know you would like it, Miz Helen!

  10. Reply
    Teresa
    January 22, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    This recipe would be a hit at my house because my husband loves sauerkraut and turkey legs, so putting them together in one dish would be perfect! Thank you for sharing another delicious recipe at Party in Your PJ’s! Pinned and tweeted!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      January 22, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you, Teresa! I wish my husband would eat sauerkraut, but he wouldn’t touch it. Some German he is, lol.

  11. Reply
    Dana
    November 3, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    My late father was Serbian; I made this last night and it reminded me of my childhood and tasted just like used to make it! It was delicious. I’ve never had it with smoked turkey before (always pork), but the smoked turkey was DELICIOUS in it! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 3, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Hi, Dana! I’m so happy you liked it and that this dish triggered your childhood memories and reminded you of your late father. Sauerkraut is great with pork too, but turkey makes it extra special. 🙂
      Puno srdacnih pozdrava! xx

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