Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Boss is Away!

The Boss is away and an old man's fancy turns to..... food! Linda is off in England visiting her sister this week so I've taken the opportunity to make a dish that she doesn't like, but that I love.

Namely Choucroute. This famous dish from the Alsace region of France has been one of my favorites every since I first had it many years ago at Brasserie Lipp. I won't pretend that my version is 100% authentic, but it is delicious and very easy to make if you have access to a decent charcouterie (or a good deli will do nicely)

Here's a shot of the bag everything I purchased came in, plus some Chef's lubricant.

As you can see the price came to 6.87 Euros. I'm not used to shopping for one so these ingredients made enough choucroute for two hungry people.

Here's everything unpacked. Namely:

  • Uncooked sauerkraut.
    Cooked will do, but either type must be fresh.

  • Hot dogs. The old fashioned kind.

  • Good quality smoked bacon.

  • Garlic sausage, smoked if possible.

  • Coriander seeds & Juniper berries.

Some smoked porks chops can substitute for the sausage (or be in addition to). Here I can use lardons instead of sliced bacon, but I prefer to have the slab bacon cut to order as it has a stronger flovour.

In any case rinse the sauerkraut then squeeze out as much water as 
possible using your hands. Repeat this three times.

Then, first cut up your bacon into lardon sized slices and mix it well into the sauerkraut. Place it into an over proof casserole that has a tight fitting lid.

Next cut up your sausage.

Then grind the coriander seeds & juniper berries up in a mortar & pestle as seen below.


Now sprinkle the herb mixture over the sauerkraut. Then arrange the frankfurters & sausage slices over the sauerkraut mixture.

Add enough dry white wine to just come to the top of the pressed down sauerkraut. Reisling is traditional, but any fruty dry white will do. I used a light chardonnay because that's what I happened to have available.

Put the lid on making sure its tight. If too loose make a little paste with flour & water to seal or place a sheet of parchment paper over the top to seal.   

Bake at about 250 degrees F for at least 2 hours, longer won't hurt.

Here's the finished product. The traditional side dish is boiled potatoes, but I find the much too heavy so I don't serve choucroute with anything, anything that is except THE most critical ingredient of all!


Lots of good white wine goes without saying although this is a dish that works well with a good beer. A 'brun' here in France is wonderful with it.

                           If you've never had this dish try it! Then let me know what you think.

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