Choucroute garnie, food of France

Choucroute garnie is a recipe from the Alsace region of France, with sauerkraut, sausages and other charcuterie products, and potatoes. It has very strong German influence - over the centuries the Alsace has fluctuated between France and Germany - but is also now (and during the last few hundred years) popular across most of France. Anyway, who cares!

Choucroute doesn't really have a fixed recipe as such, varying freely with the products available. The starting point is usually a cheap, fatty joint of pork and three different types of sausage (ideally Frankfurt, Strasbourg and Montbeliard sausages).

One common part of the process is that the sauerkraut is heated with goose or pork fat, and dry white wine (preferably riesling). Choucroute is pickled cabbage, and is widely available.

 
 

Recipe

1kg sauerkraut

cheap joint of pork, often belly

garlic clove

juniper berries, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cloves

dry white wine, preferably riesling

sausages (two or three types from Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Montbeliard, boudin blanc, frankfurters)

boiled potatoes

 

Method

  • Cook the pork in simmering water for about 1 1/2 hous
  • Drain the sauerkraut (and rinse and drain again if you like a less strong flavour)
  • Heat some pork (or duck or goose) fat in a large pan. Fry a chopped onion for 5 minutes, then add the sauerkraut, chopped garlic, pork, salt, peppercorns and cloves, a couple of bay leaves and a few juniper berries if you have some, and a couple of glasses of Riesling.
  • Simmer for another 1 1/2 hours. While this is simmering, boil the potatoes until almost cooked.
  • Add the sausages and potatoes to the choucroute about 10 minutes before the cooking is finished.