OK, this was totally unexpected.
As part of the prep work for Tuesday’s status update, I was looking over various site statistics, including the list of top posts*. I ignore the stats for the home page, since that gets hit almost every time someone comes to visit. I also ignore the stats for the “About” page and the F.A.Q., since they’re not really blog posts. With those caveats, the most popular post, by an overwhelming margin, is Using Up the Leftovers: Sauerkraut. “Overwhelming”? Yeah, more than twice as many views as the next most popular**.
* For the record, “Top posts” is strictly a measure of views. As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the actual quality of the writing.
** Moo! Since that post was about using up the less-popular parts of the cow, I thought I was onto a pattern. But the next three were my musings on Dropcam, the mandatory emergency alerts built into cell phones, and Kokoro’s Story. I suppose one could make a case for the first two being part of the pattern, but Ms K-poof is not a leftover.
Interestingly, that post went up at the end of July. It got a view every couple of days through August and September, then went totally dead, without a single hit until December 30. Three total views in December, 15 in January, 20 in February, and 44 in March. Clearly, sauerkraut disposal is a big issue in winter. Does everyone suddenly spot the jar that hasn’t been touched since the last cookout of summer and say “Well, it doesn’t really go bad, but I’m tired of looking at it, so I might as well use it up?” Or maybe it’s just that everyone on the East Coast is snowed in and trying to figure out what to do with the last thing in the fridge?
It does tempt me to make this blog “all sauerkraut, all the time”… OK, not really, though I did consider it for about 15 seconds. What I did decide to do, though, was give a partial update to that post.
One of the recipes I linked in the original post was for “Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut“, attributed to “tiffany”. We tried it out and were mildly pleased, but found it somewhat underspiced. We’ve experimented with it a couple of times since, and think we’ve come up with something pretty tasty. Without further ado, here’s our version.
Lemon/Sauerkraut Crockpot Chicken
- 32 oz jar sauerkraut. If you’re using up leftover sauerkraut, it’s fine to cheat on the quantity here. If you’re buying sauerkraut specifically to make this dish, be experimental: try a flavored variety (I highly recommend Farmhouse Culture’s Smoked Jalapeno.) If you’re making your own sauerkraut, my hat’s off to you.
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper. Or local equivalent: we’ve had good results using up leftover crushed red pepper from the local pizza delivery outfit.
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary. Because every chicken recipe uses rosemary. I think it’s international law. Part of the Geneva Convention, maybe.
- 6 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds). If you’re using boneless/skinless thighs to cut down on fat, reduce the quantity to 1 3/4 to 2 pounds. Turkey thighs work well too, but you’re not going to get lovely, crunchy turkey skin.
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Maybe a little more. It is lemon chicken, after all.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sorry, I can’t think of any olive oil jokes right now.
- salt and black pepper to taste. Use less salt than you think it needs. It really doesn’t add much to the flavor, and there’s probably too much sodium in your diet anyway. Use more pepper than you think it needs. You want the dish to have a bit of a kick.
- Rinse the sauerkraut and drain. Don’t squeeze it: you want to remove some, but not all, of the moisture.
- Spray your crockpot with cooking spray and toss in half of the kraut. Add half of the red pepper and rosemary, then give it a stir.
- Spread the chicken in a single layer on top of the kraut. Optional, but recommended: let your inner serial killer loose on the chicken: take a sharp knife and stab the heck out of the bird before you put it in the crockpot.
- Mix the lemon juice and olive oil, then brush it on the chicken. Hit both sides, and use all of the mixture.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the chicken.
- Layer the remaining kraut on top of the chicken, then top with the remaining red pepper and rosemary.
- Cook on low 7-8 hours. If you’ve got a long commute, put everything together the night before, store it in the fridge, and start it cooking before you leave. If it winds up cooking for a couple of extra hours, it won’t be hurt a bit.
- Serve in bowls over rice. Far too many chicken dishes are too wimpy to stand up to brown rice. This is not one of them.