Choucroute @ The Geeks Recipe Database
Home 30 May 2024

Basically what you want to do is get a whole lot of sauerkraut, and whatever meat you can find. The meats you choose will depend on your budget, and your local offerings. I adore pork trotters and always include them. You don't need any special equipment to serve a spectacular choucroute for pennies a serving, if you've got the belt cinched tight.

Sauerkraut: a necessity. This is sold everywhere in France at charcuterie counters, either raw or cooked. It sells here for about 1 a kilo. You can do it at home if that floats your boat, recipes abound. If you can find a good source for your sauerkraut, the battle is won. Even if you can only find canned sauerkraut, you can still serve a nice choucroute. Just make sure you give it a good rinse before you start. No matter what form it is in, make it good at home by adding seasonings. Even if you are working with the pre-cooked, you should still throw in your own additions. To each pound, add:

1 California bay leaf or 2 French bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of dried thyme
10 peppercorns
3 cloves
2 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
1 onion, cut into wedges
12 juniper berries (this is very important, because it gives a special flavor that I associate with a nice hot Choucroute on a winter's evening.)
a couple of glasses of Riesling (a dry white Alsacian wine) or if you are in a pinch, a couple of beers.
(These are guidelines. Work with what you have.)

Cooking Instructions

Throw this into a cast iron pot that has a lid, give it a turn here and there to mix things in, bring the liquid to a simmer, and then throw your meats on top. All kinds of pork products will do. Count a half pound per person. Thick cut bacon, whatever local sausages you can get your hands on, smoked meats, pork trotters, the works. Cover up your heavy cast iron pot and put it in a hot oven, and braise for as long as it takes to cook the meats. Me, I usually let it cook for an hour or so, building up the heat at the end to give it a good browning. The steam from the saurkraut will cook the meats. take off the lid for the last 10-15 minutes and brown them at the end. This is completely feasible in a wood fired oven, which adds a nice smoky taste as well.

Serve with Alsacian wine or beer.

by Chef Hogan
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