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choucroute garnie (sauerkraut and smoked sausage stew)

December 24, 2017

maybe my favorite hearty stew ever? it’s great to have a hearty stew in the wintertime. i love my friend eli’s version of kapusta. but my new favorite pork and sauerkraut wintertime stew is choucroute. this stew is eaten in the eastern part of france, on the germany border, and also on the western part of germany, where my family is from. thanks for the recipe, mom!

here’s my version – a small-ish version. i’ll also include the version you’ll want to make for a crowd.

friedsig’s choucroute

– 1 lb smoked sausage or other smoked meats like smoked pork chop, plus whatever leftover bacon or other meat you have in the house
– 1 large red onion
– 2 sweet red apples
– half a small jar of sauerkraut, homemade or store-bought
– half a small head of red cabbage, mince
– handful of little potatoes

– cup or two of white wine, like Riesling
– cup or two of chicken stock, veg stock, or pork stock

in a tea ball or cheesecloth:
– 0.5 t each of juniper berries and whole peppercorns
– 1.5 bay leaves
– pinch of caraway seeds
– 2 cloves
– 2 smashed cloves of garlic

1. (optional) in a large pot or dutch oven, pre-cook the meat, depending on what you use. if using bacon, cook that. if using smoked sausage or pork chops, brown them. no matter which meat you use, remove meat and set aside.
2. in that same large pot or dutch oven, saute your onion in lard, bacon grease, or some neutral oil like canola. when soft, add the whole spices and apple and raw cabbage. after a few minutes, add all the rest of the ingredients, including the meat. simmer for hours.
3. separately, boil up some potatoes. serve choucroute with boiled potatoes and whole-grain mustard.

+

you can add any meat from short ribs to hot dogs. try varying the meats, adding a pound or two of each kind. check out the epicurious choucroute garnie for a crowd with six pounds of meat:

1 3/4 pounds smoked meaty ham hocks
1 pound fully cooked bratwurst
8 ounces thick-sliced bacon strips, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, chopped
1 teaspoon juniper berries (optional)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
8 whole allspice
3 bay leaves
3 Red Delicious apples, unpeeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 2-pound jars sauerkraut, squeezed dry
2 pounds fully cooked kielbasa, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 pound fully cooked knockwurst
2 cups Alsatian Pinot Blanc or other dry white wine
2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Assorted mustards
Prepared white horseradish

you can also try serious eats‘ version, which calls for 7 pounds of meat, or jacques pepin‘s version with 8 lbs of meat, including hot dogs.

no matter what meat ends up in your choucroute, it’s great served with potatoes, or crusty bread and mustard, or even plain pasta or couscous or rice.

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