NEW YEAR'S DAY KAPUSTKA
2 bags of sauerkraut (We like using Kisslings, which goes for about $2.49 for a 2-pound bag. If you are lucky enough to live in the Bridesburg/Port Richmond area, visit Bob Lachowicz Quality Foods, Swiacki Meats or Czerw's Kielbasy, and get the sauerkraut right out of the kaputska barrel for under $2 a pound.)
1 pound of bacon, chopped or diced. (Yes, you can use Hatfield or Oscar Mayer bacon, but again, any butcher will cut you a slab of their bacon. Reading Terminal Market has plenty of Amish vendors that will have this. John Czerw always gives me the bacon ends for this dish.)
1 large yellow onion (softball size), chopped
2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup of syrup (maple, pancake or
molasses will do!)
In a big stock pot, fry up the chopped bacon on medium high heat. Use the wooden spoon your mom hits you with to free up the pieces from getting stuck on the bottom. This will produce some bacon grease; let it be.
Once bacon is cooked to crisp, add your chopped onions, mixing well. Let the onions break down and soften.
Add both bags of sauerkraut; try to drain half of the liquid before dumping in the pot. Mix very well, and add the brown sugar and then the syrup. Your sauerkraut will turn a brown gold color. Let simmer on medium for about 30 minutes. The smell will be amazing; keep turning with that wooden spoon.
Now, this sauerkraut is always best the day after or even two days after. Let it sit cold for all the ingredients to gossip and marinate. Some Polish babci will add a packet of brown gravy to the mix. Once I poured in half a can of Frank's Root Beer, and nobody died or hit me with the wooden spoon. This freezes great, and not only should you eat this with pork and mashed potatoes after the string bands march on New Year's Day, but mound it over hot dogs or kielbasa.
*Also, it's good to have a dog to blame for the gas produced a few hours after enjoying this dish. (RIP to Bruno the Dalmatian, who was falsely accused of this act every Jan. 2.)