This is a great recipe for the winter - lots of flavor! It may sound and look like a rich, heavy meal, but it is surprisingly light, and is actually based on an old "Weight Watchers" recipe! No need to serve anything on the side - it is a multi-layer "one pan" meal. On several occasions, I have eaten half the dish all by myself (OK, I was stuffed for two days).

  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Baking time: 50-60 minutes
  • Makes 6 servings.
  • Freezes well.

Latest update: 12 January 2020

©1984-2020 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.


  • 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) sauerkraut
  • Weight is "drained"
  • Save yourself some time, and buy cooked kraut - "plain/natural" or "white wine" (in a jar, a pouch, or bulk); if it has pieces of bacon in it, remove them!
  • 400 grams (almost 1 lb) yellow onions, peeled, woody part of the cores removed, finely diced
  • Dicing takes 2 seconds in a food processor
  • 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) ground beef
  • Use lean beef: 5% fat - don't waste your money on water and fat of higher % ground beef
  •  "Instant" mashed potatoes - a standard 125 grams (4.5 oz) pouch is more than enough
  • 500 grams (a little over 1 lb) of apples (3 medium size apples)
  • Weight is before peeling and coring
  • 225 grams (1/2 lb) raisins
  • I prefer Thompson raisins (a sultana variety). No need to soak them: they will plump up during the baking.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of "hot" curry powder (if you're a wimp, use "regular")
  • This may seem like a lot, but it will get absorbed just fine, and in the baked dish, you will only taste a hint of it.
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter (2 tablespoons for cooking the onions, 1-2 to put on top of the mashed potatoes)
  • No salt required - sauerkraut normally has enough salt for the entire dish, all by itself.


Ground beef, chopped onions, raisins


  • Large frying pan
  • Oven dish
  • Wooden spatula
  • Optional: food processor (for chopping the onions)
  • Medium size sauce pan
  • Large bowl
  • Medium size bowl
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Large oven-proof dish (I use an oval dish of about 30x20x5 cm, 12x8x2 inch)
  • Use a clear glass dish, so you can see when the juices are boiling at least half way up the side of the dish


  • Cook the sauerkraut in water (with 1 tablespoon of the curry powder) until almost done
  • Use enough water to almost cover the kraut; stir in the tablespoon of curry powder
  • If you bought cooked kraut, just bring the water to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Cook the ground beef while loosening with a fork or wooden spatula
  • Do not add butter or oil to the pan - even lean ground beef has more than enough fat of its own! Pour off excess water.
  • When the beef is all loosened up and cooked, stir in 2 tablespoons of the curry powder, then take off the heat and set aside
  • Finely chop the onions, with a knife or a kitchen machine
  • Slowly cook the chopped onions in butter until translucent - do not fry until brown! When the onion is soft and done (15 minutes), mix-in the last tablespoon of curry powder and stir
  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F)
  • In a large bowl, mix the cooked beef and onions
  • Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then coarsely grate them in the food processor (or use a vegetable grater)
  • Don't put the apple chunks in the food processor all at once: part of the apple will get very finely chopped or even pureed, whereas some larger chunks will not get cut up at all.
  • In a medium size bowl, mix the apples and the raisins.


Curried ground beef & onions, apples & raisins

  • Drain the sauerkraut in a fine-mesh sieve
  • You will have to squeeze the kraut (or push down on it with a spatula or the bottom of a coffee cup) to get most of the water out
  • Build alternating layers until the oven dish almost filled:
  • One layer of the ground beef & onion mix (half of the mix) - spread out evenly and all the way up against the inside of the dish.
  • Cover with a layer of apple & raisins mix (half of the mix)
  • Cover with a layer of sauerkraut (half of the kraut); you will have to pull the kraut apart to be able to drape all over the previous layer
  • Make the mashed potatoes per the instructions on the package (typically with boiling water + milk)
  • I mix the garlic and nutmeg into the water-milk mix, or after the mash is done.
  • If the instructions call for letting the mash rest for 5 minutes: do so! Otherwise it will be much to liquid for spreading on top of the sauerkraut!
  • Cover the oven dish with mashed potatoes, and smoothen the top with a large knife
  • You may not need all of the puree...
  • Put some teaspoon-size pieces of butter spread out over the top, and push them into the mashed potatoes a little bit.
  • Alternatively: instead of butter, spray the entire top with cooking spray (USA: e.g., "PAM" brand, which is canola oil = rapeseed oil)
  • Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes
  • The juices that collect at the bottom of the dish should be boiling for at least 10 minutes
  • The top of the mashed potatoes will turn golden brown


Layer of ground beef & onions (left), and layer of apples & raisins


Layer of sauerkraut (left) and final layer - mashed potatoes


The dish - ready to go into the oven


Clean-up done, while the dish is in the oven


  • Serve with chilled dry white wine or beer


  • The complete dish can be prepared ahead of time. However, when the uncooked dish is cold, it will take much longer to cook! Straight out of the refrigerator (e.g., leftovers) : at least 1 hour at 175 °C (350 °F)

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