3 Bratwurst links (about 1/2 lb.),
uncooked, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
pinch of cumin and/or caraway seed (optional)
1 1/2 c. sauerkraut, drained and chopped
2 T. breadcrumbs
1 T. parsley, finely chopped
3 T. cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 T. flour
1/4 c. beer (or milk)
1 c. Panko breadcrumbs
Cooking oil as needed for frying
1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the bratwurst while breaking it up with a wooden spatula or spoon. Bratwurst is already seasoned, but if you desire more pronounced flavors, add a pinch or two of cumin and/or caraway seed at this stage. Add the diced onion, mix it in and let soften. Once the bratwurst is fully cooked let it cool down.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained sauerkraut, breadcrumbs, parsley, cream cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cooled off bratwurst & onion mixture.
3. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated and form into golf sized balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet and refrigerate one hour to let them firm up.
4. Prepare a breading set-up - one bowl with flour, one bowl with beaten eggs & beer (or milk), and one bowl with breadcrumbs.
To deep fry: Over medium-high heat in a deep frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to fully submerge the balls to 350ºF. Bread the chilled sauerkraut balls (coat with flour, then egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs. Fry a few at a time - do not overcrowd or the temperature of the cooking oil will drop. Try to keep it around 350º for best results. Fry until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
To bake : Heat oven to 375ºF. Bread the chilled sauerkraut balls (coat with flour, then egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs), arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Vegetarian Version: Substitute two medium sized boiled, peeled and grated potatoes. Soften the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil; mix with grated boiled potatoes, season with salt and a bit of cumin and/or caraway seed and proceed with the recipe as given.
Serve sauerkraut balls warm with your favorite sauce - honey mustard, Bavarian whole grain mustard, or creamy horseradish sauce.