Jalapeno Sauerkraut Balls

My husband comes from a very German family.  They actually eat sauerkraut.  Like it’s food or something.

His mom has made an appetizer called Sauerkraut Balls as long as he can remember.  It took a lot of talking on his part the first Christmas we were together to get me to try them.  As you may have suspected, I am not a fan of sauerkraut.  Imagine my surprise, and that of everyone we’ve convinced to try them since, when I bit into one and it was delicious.

This year, my husband decided to try spicing them up a bit.  This is a man who can’t get food hot enough, so we were all a little afraid.  Turns out, his version is even better than the original and not too hot for us mere mortals.

Joel’s Jalapeno Sauerkraut Balls

1/2 lb hot pork sausage

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

3 whole, fresh jalapenos, chopped with seeds

1 T flour

14 oz canned sauerkraut, well drained and coarsely chopped

4 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed (do NOT use fat-free)

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp parsley flakes

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 cup flour

2 eggs

2 T water

1 cup panko crumbs

Cook the sausage, onion and jalapeno in a skillet until no pink remains and vegetables are soft.  Break sausage into small pieces.  Turn off heat.  Sprinkle 1 T flour over top.  Add sauerkraut, cream cheese, mustard, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir until blended.  Chill mixture until it will hold it’s shape, about an hour. 

Roll into 1” balls.  Measure 1/3 cup flour into a bowl.  Beat 2 eggs and 2 T water in a second bowl.  Measure panko crumbs into a third bowl.  Roll balls in flour, egg, then crumbs.  Place on a baking sheet coated with pan spray.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes about 30.  They freeze well.

We made the original version and the jalapeno, so we added some parsley to the bread crumbs for the spicier ones so we could tell them apart easily.  Of course, in hindsight we could have just tasted every single one.  Enjoy!