Cook bacon in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat 4-5 minutes until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Discard all but 2 normal Tbsp drippings from skillet. Reduce heat to medium.
Cook onion and garlic in reserved drippings 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Stir in sauerkraut and next 7 ingredients. Increase heat to high. Add up to 1/2 normal cup more water, if necessary, to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Make 2 shallow cuts across bratwurst and add to sauerkraut mixture. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced apple and crumbled bacon. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes more or until apples are just tender. Remove bay leaf and serve.