Crispy and fried, sauerkraut balls make a great anytime appetizer whether you are watching the game or visiting with friends and family. Invented in Akron, Ohio, in the German Mennonite community, this Bavarian-inspired dish is very popular in the Midwest, especially during the Sauerkraut festivals which pop up in various cities.
What is Sauerkraut?
You've seen it on hot dogs, perhaps added it to your Rueben sandwich, but what is it really? Made from finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, this healthy fermented vegetable has a long shelf life and has a distinct characteristic sour and tangy flavor.
You can either eat it cold on its own or serve it hot, golden brown, and deep-fried. I'll take the latter.
How to Make Sauerkraut Balls
To start, bring your cream cheese to room temperature and drain your kraut in a colander.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet add chopped onion and pork sausage. Some recipes use bratwurst. Cook the sausage mixture until the sausage is browned, about 10 minutes. Add in 1 chopped clove of garlic or a sprinkle of garlic powder.
Drain the fat from the sausage and discard. Place the sausage mixture in a large bowl along with the cream cheese, dry bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, and drained sauerkraut. Mix with your hands and form into 1-inch balls. If the sauerkraut mixture is loose let chill for 1 hour before forming into balls. They should be the size of meatballs.
Heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F.
In three bowls set out the flour, 1 egg beaten with milk, and the remaining breadcrumbs.
Coat the balls in flour, then the egg mixture, and ending with the breading. Add the balls to the fryer and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the balls to a plate topped with paper towels. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. We like to serve them with mustard but some like 1000 island dressing.