Choucroute Garnie

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.

Ingredients

for the meats

  • 750g smoked streaky pork (smoked pancetta)
  • 450g kassler (smoked loin of pork) or a piece of smoked back bacon
  • 4 medium meaty smoked sausages
  • 4 meaty sausages, such as Toulouse
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 1tsp caraway seeds
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil for frying


for the cabbage

  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp caraway seeds
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 1 big glass of white wine
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and finely grated


Method

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.

Enjoy.....

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