Choucroute is the national Alsatian dish
It straddles French and German Cuisine frontiers, and merges them beautifully.
Choucroute is the French etymological take on Sauerkraut. Called Choucroute Garnie (garnished), because it always comes with all the bells and whistles. Needless to say, it makes a complete meal, and then some. The dream winter comfort food!
There are no end of variations on Choucroute:
And believe me, the finished dish can get quite luxurious (foie gras, champagne and other heady stuff), but there are some constant ingredient groups:
- A nice hunk of meat selected for great braising: Flanken, beef cheeks, pot roast etc
- A nice piece of smoked meat (this Kosher baby uses smoked turkey)
- Natural sausages
- Marrow bones
- Sauerkraut. Duh!
I am getting you started with the basic classic rustic version.
Once you have all the constant components in place, go ahead and customize it to your personal preferences. I am giving you a great basic recipe here! You will love the low maintenance way the whole dish cooks. And you will love that it makes a complete meal.
- 3 pounds flanken, or beef cheeks (rinse them well)
- 5-6 marrow bones
- 1 pound natural smoked turkey breast, cut across, then sliced
- 6 cups water
- 1/3 cup olive oil (if you can procure duck fat, it would be the best choice)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cheesecloth containing: 2 tablespoons slightly crushed juniper berries, 4 cloves, 3 tablespoons peppercorns, 4-5 bay leaves, 8-10 sprigs thyme
- 1 bottle dry white wine or Riesling
- 2 1/2 pounds sauerkraut, drained
- 1 pound natural sausage links, sliced one inch thick
- 2 pounds very small potatoes
In a wide heavy pot, bring the flanken, bones, turkey and water to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook covered 1 1/2 hours.
Add all but last ingredients and cook on medium low 1 1/2 hours. Add the sausage and potatoes, burying them into the pot, and cook another 30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecloth . Pour the choucroute onto a platter and serve hot, with crusty bread and Dijon mustard.
Makes 8 servings