One of my lasting memories from touring Bavaria were the roadside vendors serving piping hot Bratwurst sandwiches slathered in hot Sauerkraut and a local spicy mustard and horseradish (I think) condiment. On a cold, drizzly day they were just the ticket after a  Volksmarch!

The key to the sandwich was indeed the sauerkraut, but did you know that the often disdained sauerkraut is actually a VERY healthy food source?

Raw sauerkraut is very healthy. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, lactobacilli, and other nutrients. However, the low pH and abundance of otherwise healthy lactobacilli may upset the intestines of people who are not used to eating acidic foods. Studies suggest that fermented cabbage may be even more healthy than the raw vegetable, with increased levels of anti-cancer agents such as isothiocyanates.

Before frozen foods and the importation of foods from the Southern hemisphere became readily available in northern and central Europe, sauerkraut provided a vital source of the aforementioned nutrients during the winter. Captain James Cook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages, since experience had taught him that it was an effective preventative of scurvy. German sailors continued this practice even after the British Royal Navy had switched to limes, earning the British sailor the nickname “Limey” while his German counterpart became known as a “Kraut”.

It is now known that the preservation of sauerkraut in an anaerobic environment (in the brine) keeps the vitamin C in it from being oxidized.

This morning, while dicing ham for a quick Western sandwich for my wife, I was reminded of those days long ago and had a sudden hankering for sauerkraut.

What luck! My teenager hadn’t seen the container at the back of the fridge so almost half remained. So here is an idea (in best James Barber fashion) for a Deutscher version of the ubiquitous Western Sandwich.
Ingredients

  • 2 – slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup – diced ham
  • 1/2 cup – sauerkraut
  • 1 – egg

Instructions

  1. Into the toaster with the bread.
  2. Heat frying pan over medium heat.
  3. When hot begin sauteing the ham.
  4. About halfway through sauteing, toss the sauerkraut on top of the ham, cover and continue sauteing.
  5. When the ham begins to crisp about the edges and there is a blush of carmelization on the sauerkraut, scramble the egg in a bowl and pour over top.
  6. Cover and reduce heat slightly until the egg is cooked through.
  7. Butter the toasted bread.
  8. Slide the cooked SauerKowboy filling onto the bread.
  9. Top with your favourite condiment (salt, pepper, ketchup, Dijon mustard etc.).
  10. Close up the sandwich and take a bite.
  11. Enjoy!

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