Choucroute Garnie is a famous Alsatian recipe for sauerkraut with sausages (normally pork), cured meats and charcuterie, and even sometimes potatoes.
Although sauerkraut is a traditional German dish it has been widely adopted in France.
Where we live in Aquitaine, its amazing how many times I have heard French friends organise evenings just to eat choucroute, This is a very popular dish all over France.
for the meats
for the cabbage
One Day before, Cut the smoked pork & bacon into 4 to 5cm chunks, put in a bowl of water and leave overnight in the fridge. (You don't need to soak the pancetta or kassler).
Start with the meats.
Wash the soaked meats under a cold tap for a few minutes, then put it into a large saucepan (add the pancetta now if you are using it) and top up with water until the meat is just covered. Add the onions, juniper, caraway and mustard seeds and the bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. The water may need topping once or twice so check after an hour or so.
Add the sausages (and kassler) and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the pieces of meat and sausages and strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a container and keep 1/3 of the liqiud seperate to reheat the meats later.
Now for the cabbage..
Cut out the root out of the cabbage and finely shred the leaves.
In a thick-bottomed pan, add the vegetable oil and gently cook the onions, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, bayleaf and juniper berries, for 4-5 minutes until soft, not burnt.
Add the white wine, vinegar, potato and shredded cabbage to the softened onions and cover with the strained liquid you cooked the meat in.
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-12mins, Untill there is nearly no liquid left, just a little cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to serve..
Put the 1/3 cooking liquid you saved early in the sauce pan, bring to the boil, and add the cooked meats.
Put the cabbage in a large serving dish and spoon the reheated meat and sausages over the top.
Serve with some strong mustard, French bread and German beer.
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